The Pre-nuptial Agreement
This is a written contract between two people who are about to marry.
The contract sets out the respective rights and obligations of each
spouse relating to assets that they presently own and will acquire
after they get married, and also what should happen to those assets
on dissolution of the marriage through death or divorce.
The Importance of a Pre-nuptial Agreement
If parties do not enter into a pre-nuptial agreement, South African law
dictates that they are then automatically married in community of
property by default. That means that if one of party gets into
financial difficulties, his or her creditors can sue the couple’s joint
estate. In this way both of them are jointly responsible for the
debts of each other. This can prove to be highly problematic.
To avoid joint responsibility, it is advisable to enter into a
pre-nuptial agreement. The benefits of doing so include:
Divorce settlement procedures: most notably, a pre-nuptial
agreement will outline who gets what should there be a divorce.
Without a pre-nuptial agreement, relevant divorce laws
and the settlement you negotiate will determine how assets are
You can keep your assets separate: in doing so you avoid having
to fight for your assets in the case of divorce.
Inherited property: through a pre-nuptial agreement, stipulations
can be made with regards to all inherited property.
Dividing debt: pre-nuptial agreements can limit your responsibility
with regards to your spouse’s debt during the marriage and also in the event of a divorce.