When it comes to choosing a matrimonial property regime, there are several options available to you, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. Here’s an overview of the most common regimes:
Marriage in community of property:
This means that all assets and liabilities are shared equally between both spouses. This is the default regime in South Africa unless you sign an antenuptial agreement. It’s a good option if you want to share everything equally with your partner and don’t have significant assets or debts before marriage. I do not advise it though.
Advantages: simple and easy to understand. Everything is shared equally.
Disadvantages: both spouses are equally responsible for each other’s debts. If one partner has a lot of debt, it could affect the other partner’s credit score.
Marriage out of community of property
This means that each spouse has their own assets and liabilities, and they are not shared with the other spouse. This is a good option if you have significant assets or liabilities before marriage that you want to keep separate.
Advantages: protects assets and liabilities from being shared between spouses. Each spouse is responsible for their own debts.
Disadvantages: could create potential conflict if one spouse is not transparent about their assets or debts.
Out of community of property with the accrual system:
This is similar to in community of property in a sense, but assets and liabilities acquired before marriage are not shared. Each spouse’s assets are increased by their individual accrual during the marriage.
Advantages: provides protection for pre-marital assets. Assets acquired during the marriage are shared equally.
Out of community of property without the accrual system:
This is similar to out of community of property, but with the addition of the accrual system to share assets acquired during the marriage.
Advantages: provides protection for all assets, whether received before or after marriage. Basically, both parties keep their own things.
Disadvantages: each spouse is responsible for their own debts.
Choosing the best matrimonial property regime for your marriage depends on your individual circumstances and goals. It’s important to seek the advice of an experienced attorney who can guide you through the process and help you make an informed decision.