10 Important Benefits Of Antenuptial Contracts In South Africa
Over the last few years, there has been a rise in couples opting to get an antenuptial contract put in place before they get married. This rise isn’t due to increased worry over financial and asset disputes in the event of a divorce, but rather this increase is due to the realisation amongst people worldwide that antenuptial contracts benefit both parties and help make spouses feel more secure in their marriages.
Antenuptial contracts can benefit spouses by removing the fear of financial loss in divorce and protecting them from their partner’s past and future debt. It allows you to make decisions concerning your finances, protects what you hold dear, and can offer you peace of mind when you get married.
If you or your partner are considering getting an antenuptial contract put in place before heading down the aisle, there is no need to feel guilty, or like you don’t trust each other. This type of contract is highly beneficial for both parties. It can allow you to prepare for and protect your future before starting your life journey together.
10 Top Benefits Of Antenuptial Contracts
Antenuptial contracts in South Africa are regulated by the Matrimonial Property Act, 88 of 1984, and offer a range of benefits for you and your partner. Let’s discuss some of the essential benefits of antenuptial contracts in South Africa.
1. Ensures That You Are Not Married In Community Of Property
Not too long ago, it was the norm to get married in community of property, which means that everything you owned before the marriage and everything you acquired during the marriage belonged to you and your spouse jointly.
If you divorced, you would need to share all your assets with your spouse equally, depending on a judge’s ruling, even if they didn’t contribute as much financially to the marriage. Bar a few circumstances, such as inheritance excluded from the community of property marriage in a Will or patrimonial damages.
Suppose you have an antenuptial contract in place before marriage. In that case, it ensures that you will not be married in community of property and that your pre-marriage finances or items you hold dear get protected in the event of divorce.
2. Reduces Financial Worries In Case Of Divorce
Most people head into their marriage with assets. In some instances, one partner might be wealthier than the other, or they might own something of personal value that they do not wish to share with their partner in the event of a divorce.
If you have an antenuptial contract put in place, you can stipulate in the document that the assets you took into the marriage will remain yours even if you get divorced. This stipulation can reduce the risk of one spouse marrying the other for money.
3. They Take Your Circumstances Into Consideration
Antenuptial contracts are not a one size fits all type of contract. Instead, they are based on individual circumstances. You have the option of getting an antenuptial contract with or without accrual.
You can opt for an antenuptial contract with accrual that states that you keep everything you own before heading into the marriage, including assets and finances, and then share everything you gain with your spouse, and visa versa, bar a few instances.
Or you can get an antenuptial contract without accrual, meaning you and your spouse keep your assets and finances separate even in the marriage. In the event of a divorce, you get to retain everything you came into the marriage with and everything you accrued during the marriage.
4. Can Protect Items That You Hold Dear
The items you list in your antenuptial contract do not need to be highly valued. If they are essential to you and you would like to ensure that they always belong to you, you can add them in. It is up to your discretion what you think is worth mentioning.
5. Protects You From Your Partner’s Past And Future Debt
One of the main benefits is that antenuptial contracts can protect you from your partner’s past and future debts and visa vera. This benefit is significant if you or your future spouse are business owners.
Having an antenuptial contract in place means that if your business fails and you suffer from liquidation, your spouse’s assets are protected and will not be included in the insolvency. It also means that no debtors can collect from you for your spouse’s debts, accrued before or after you marry.
6. You Own Your Finances
Having an antenuptial contract means that you are the owner of your estate. You will be able to make decisions involving your estate and will be in control of your debt. You will not legally need to get permission from your spouse before making a purchase or any significant financial decision.
7. Protects You From Drawn Out Divorce Legal Battles
Unfortunately, one of the realities of the world today is that large percentages of marriages end up in divorce. In some cases, especially in contested divorces, things can get ugly and often result in a drawn-out affair.
Suppose you have an antenuptial contract in place. In that case, it reduces the risk of a drawn-out divorce as many aspects that could get contested in community of property circumstances would already be detailed and discussed in your antenuptial agreement. These details make it easier for a judge to divide a married estate.
8. Protects Your Business If You Are A Business Owner
Running a business is hard, and you often pour your blood, sweat, and tears into the endeavor. A great way to protect your business is to have an antenuptial contract stating the company is yours and will remain yours in case of a divorce. If you do not have this stipulation, you might find that half of your hard work now belongs to your ex-spouse.
9. Can Give You Peace Of Mind Heading Into Your Marriage
If you or your partner is coming into the marriage with a substantial estate, an antenuptial contract dictating that the estate is not up for grabs in the event of a divorce can alleviate worries.
It can also give the financially stronger partner peace of mind that their spouse is not in the relationship for their money. While providing the economically weaker partner peace of mind that no matter what, their partner doesn’t feel like they are in their marriage for the wrong reasons.
10. It Can Protect The Financially Weaker Partner
You might think that antenuptial contracts only benefit the financially stronger partner, but this can’t be further from the truth, as financially weaker partners are also protected. Antenuptial contracts ensure that you will receive sufficient support and will not be left destitute in the event of a divorce. This benefit is especially significant for those who stay home to look after the house, children, or both.
An important thing to remember when drafting your antenuptial contract is that it needs to be done correctly. A poorly drafted antenuptial agreement can lead to unhappiness and unwanted asset distribution. For best results, you should consult an experienced lawyer who can advise and guide you through creating an airtight contract that will leave both parties feeling protected and happy.
At Burnett Attorneys & Notaries, we pride ourselves on drawing up concise antenuptial contracts that ensure no issues further down the line from divorce or death. Our team has extensive knowledge of the different types of antenuptial contracts and family law. We would happily use this knowledge to help you and your future spouse feel comfortable.
If you would like some advice or to draw up an antenuptial contract, we would be happy to help, don’t hesitate to contact us to set up a meeting.