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Why the wrong marriage contract often contributes to divorce

In this wonderful time of spring, people are looking to new beginnings. The love bug that bit around Valentine’s day is now often celebrated with nuptials and it is a time when wedding bells chime and long term future relationships are formed.

A vital contributor to the longevity of these relationships, however, is the aligning of legal and financial matters to protect not only what each partner may have come into the marriage with – but what they will accrue during the marriage and be left with once it is all over. This could be due to the death of a spouse – or sadly, as in the case of many marriages, divorce.

Ante-Nuptial Contracts are advised

We never like to talk about failed marriages, but they do happen and so one of the great advantages of having an Ante-Nuptial Contract (ANC) drawn up before the marriage is that both partners leave with an equal share of their accrued assets.

I discussed the advantages and differences of ANC contracts, with or without accrual, in my last article, (It can be found on my website) but in this article, I just want to drive home some of the reasons why the wrong marriage contract often contributes to divorce.

Why community of property can lead to conflict

One of the biggest mistakes newlyweds can make is to have no marriage contract at all. Upon marriage in South Africa, without a marriage contract (or ‘prenup,’ as Americans like to call it) the spouses are automatically subjected to the system of a complete community of property, including their premarital property.

One of the great disadvantages of this can be that equal financial powers automatically exist and unless the couple is very in tune with financial decisions it is highly likely to lead to conflict, or as is often the case, even divorce.

Probably an even greater disadvantage of marrying in community of property is that the bankruptcy of one of the spouses affects the total communal property, so if a risk of insolvency exists, both partners could be incriminated and declared bankrupt. This too has led to not only financial ruin, but the demise of many a marriage.

Consult the experts

Don’t let wedded bliss be hit and miss! Enjoy many years of a harmonious marriage in which your property is protected in the case of insolvency of one or the other partner because you had an Ante-Nuptial Contract drawn up prior to the marriage. As experts in this field, we can oblige.

I am Glenn Rooseboom. I have been an attorney in practice for over 20 years now and have assisted with many seemingly impossible legal issues. As one who never enjoys seeing unpleasant conflict between spouses, I seriously advise that well-chosen premarital agreements be discussed and drawn up to represent both parties fairly and equitably.

For advice and guidance, talk to me. I am only too happy to be of assistance. Stay safe – stay legally protected – and stay married!

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