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Antenuptual agreement – what happens when you marry without one?

Love is in the air, perfumed with the scent of prosperity and joy and bound together in sterling silver and gold. Till death do us part whispered lyrically into each lovers ear and forever being the melodic tune that plays behind it. The perfect beginning to any romance but as we all know every fairytale has its ending and marriage is no different. As repugnant as this may sound, the cold hearted reality is every marriage will end with either of the two “D”s, death or divorce. And sometimes the ugliest ending is the latter; you just have to step into any random court room to see the grim sight of when two lovers collide or more succinctly divide.

The big question is what happens when two lovers divorce? Well the love may go its  separate ways but the material things that seemed minor in the beginning stay behind torn across the court room before the judge’s chamber, each lover laying claim with sharpened teeth,  the value of their contribution in the marriage. To avoid the dreaded manifestation of divorce which can sometimes break more than just hearts but also tear families apart, is to find a civil way to end everything before anything begins. There’s two avenues one could pick when getting married, either community of property or with an Ante nuptial contract. The latter is the most popular because of its flexibility and certain level of detachment from the poetic manifestations of romance, sort of like the abstemious mutual friend that doesn’t pick sides. It can be divided into two types, ante nuptial contract with or without accrual. The first one requires each partner to state the value of their respective assets at the beginning of their marriage and thereafter all assets are shared 50/50. One can state that specific assets be excluded from the accrual such inheritances, donations etc. The second pertains to assets acquired before or during the marriage which will remain separate throughout the course of the marriage, assets are not shared and each partner has a separate estate.

But what happens for the few faithfuls that decide to marry without an antenuptual contract, then these two will automatically be married in community of property’. The state regards that all assets and liabilities of both the husband and wife are shared. It plainly means that everything which is his is hers and everything which is hers is his. So you’re looking at a situation where if one of you gets into financial trouble, creditors will have a claim against both of you. And that essentially means neither of you has any financial independence, so if the wife wants to open an account, the husband has to sign the account application as well, if the husband wants to buy a car, the wife has to sign too. Every business transaction will require the consent of both parties. If one partner should die, the estate of both the deceased and surviving partner will be wound up because of it being a joint estate. We could all agree that’s not ideal for the surviving partner who’ll be drowning in legal limbo for most of the grieving period. Love has always had two rulers, the mind and heart and the law  has made provision for both of them. At Fuch Roux we understand the harmonious balance required in leaving a cherished romance behind and starting a new life, it’s more than just about the law, it’s about people.

Contact us today to set up a consultation for the right antenuptual agreement for you and your future life partner.

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