Marriage in community of property pros and cons

What does Community of Property mean?

Getting married is a big step in a number of ways. The union of two lives doesn’t only end on the wedding day. Individuals become one not just emotionally and spiritually, but also financially. It’s important for couples to plan for the marriage thoroughly. This includes making arrangements for financial implications of marriage.

In South Africa, if you get married without making arrangements for signing an antenuptial contract, you are automatically married in community of property.

Getting married in community of property means that the assets you and your partner owned before and during your marriage are combined. It also means that you will need to obtain written permission from your spouse to buy or sell property.

Marriage in community of property pros and consWhat are the advantages?

    • If you get a divorce, you will get half of your shared assets. The assets will be split equally in the event of a divorce.
    • You manage your assets together. As a married couple, this may help you form a closer bond as you are able to manage your finances efficiently together.
    • It is regarded as the simplest system due to the convenience it offers.
    • It requires no additional effort or expense. Couples don’t have to spend any extra money on lawyers to set up an antenuptial agreement.
    • Creditworthiness is linked throughout the duration of the marriage. If your credit record was less than perfect, getting married may help to improve your credit standing.
    • The transferring of property has financial benefits

What are the disadvantages?

  • Each party becomes liable for the other’s debt. Unfortunately if one partner becomes over-indebted, it automatically affects the other.
  • There is a lack of financial independence. Should you need to sign new credit agreements, you need to obtain written consent from your spouse which may be frustrating for some individuals.
  • In the event of death, the joint estate can be frozen until all legalities have been resolved.

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