Do we need an Ante-Nuptial contract?

In terms of South African law, if no ante-nuptial contract (also known as a pre-nuptial contract, or a pre-nup) is signed prior to the wedding, you are automatically married ‘in community of property’. This means that all property owned by either spouse becomes part of the joint estate upon marriage, whether it is theirs at the time of the marriage or is acquired by them afterwards. This also means that you are liable for each others debts.

Remember that the ante-nuptial contract needs to be executed by the attorney in front of a Notary Public BEFORE THE MARRIAGE – otherwise it’s not valid!

If you decide after the wedding to enter into an ante-nuptial contract, you will require a High Court application, which can be very expensive. In addition, you will be expected to produce a valid reason as to why you did not conclude an ante-nuptial contract before your marriage.

If you are a South African woman marrying a man from a foreign country, bear in mind that the law of your prospective husband’s home country at the time of the marriage applies. In this case it is best to contact an attorney prior to the marriage.

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