Before you get married, learn the paperwork first!
The Default Regime: In Community of Property (ICOP)
The default matrimonial property regime in South Africa is called in community of property or ICOP. That means that if you do not conclude a valid antenuptial contract (more on that later) you will be married in community of property. Claire, the head of our Family Law, likes to describe this regime by making reference to a “basket”. Before a couple get married, they each have their own separate baskets in which their individual assets and liabilities (debts) are held.When that couple gets married, the moment that the marriage register is signed, or the customary marriage or civil union is concluded, those two separate baskets fall away and they become one joint basket. The couple then hold on to their basket for the duration of the marriage. Whatever goes into the basket belongs jointly to the couple, and if something is to be taken out of the basket, that requires the consent of both spouses. Claire had the pleasure of being a guest on Aubrey Masango’s show on 702, talking all about marriage. Listen to the full podcast here. Claire says that the benefit of this regime is that the spouses to the marriage are partners in the true sense of the word in that they share everything: all of the gains of the marriage as well as the gains made by both spouses before the marriage. The down side, of this regime, however, is that the losses and the consequences of unpaid debts, falls on both parties, even if the one spouse was not responsible for incurring those losses or if those losses occurred before the marriage began. This means that sequestration and judgments effect both parties equally albeit that it may have only been one spouse who incurred or benefitted from the debt. To change your marriage regime from in community of property to out of community of property speak to our specialist family lawyers and conclude an antenuptial contract, before entering into your marriage (whether that marriage is civil, or customary in nature or a civil union). At Witz Inc, you will get the best possible advise about the legal and financial consequences of your marriage. Come and enjoy a delicious Paul’s Home Made Ice-cream or a cup of coffee with us whilst we guide you through the options that you have to protect you and your spouse’s financial future, before you get married.Speak to the best, speak to the Family Law Department at Witz Inc Attorneys.