The right type of marriage for you - Wedding Album

The right type of marriage for you

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Marriage is a beautiful thing. But it’s also a commitment that takes hard work. After all, once the guests have left, the cakes’ been cut, and the glitz and glamour have faded, it’s just you, your partner and your entire future together. This future also includes your finances, which is why it’s important to enter into a marriage where the financial implications work for both you and your betrothed. It may not be as romantic as picking out your honeymoon destinations, but deciding on a type of marriage is one step in the right direction.

In South Africa, there are three types of marriages recognised by the law:

Civil marriages between heterosexual partners

Civil unions between either heterosexual or same-sex partners

Customary marriages in terms of African or religious customs.

There are also two matrimonial property regimes. These are the legal arrangements that regulate how your assets and liabilities are treated during and at the end of the marriage:

Marriage in community of property
This means everything you own and owe that you each had before the marriage becomes jointly owned. Marriage under customary law is regarded as being in community of property.

Marriage out of community of property
This means your assets and liabilities are kept separately and is drawn up as an antenuptial contract.

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There are two kinds of antenuptial contracts, one with and one without accrual:

Antenuptial contract without accrual
This type of contract must be drawn up by a lawyer and there are costs involved. The contract states that your assets and liabilities are kept separate, so in the event of a divorce or death, each of you leaves with whatever you brought to the marriage as well as what you accumulated in your personal capacity during the time you were married. If you’ve been married before, have kids from a previous relationship or one of you has a lot of debt, this type of arrangement is a good option.

Antenuptial with accrual
With this contract, your assets and liabilities you bring to the marriage are still kept separate, however, if you acquired less growth in your estate than your spouse during the time you were married, you’ll be entitled to receive half of the difference in growth of your combined estates.

Ultimately, the type of marriage system you decide on will determine how credit providers will assess your future credit applications,  such as buying a house or car, renting an apartment or accessing credit. If you’re still unsure of the type of marriage that’s correct for you, consult a financial advisor.

Information supplied by John Manyike, Head of Financial Education at Old Mutual.

Photography Andrew Itaga/Unsplash,