You are Here > Home > YouTube Channel > Video: Marriage and money

Video: Marriage and money

Sep 7, 2021

When couples marry, including Customary Marriage, they will automatically be married under community of property, unless they sign a separate antenuptial contract.

This is seen as a way to protect women, especially those who stay at home to raise the family.

The term ‘community of property’ means that the wife is entitled to a share of the joint estate, either on the death of her spouse or when they divorce.

But what is important to understand is that this includes community of profit and loss. It is not just your partner’s assets which you share, but also their debt.

That includes any debt accrued up until the day of the marriage – even if it was a badly managed credit card or a legal judgement.

It is also worth noting that community of property goes both ways. Any assets or debt the wife may have accrued prior the marriage belong equally to the husband.

In theory, community of property seems like a fair approach to ensure financial equality, however, in practice it has serious complications.

While credit providers are supposed to obtain the signature and permission of both spouses, they seldom do, unless it is a significant asset such as a property.

This means a spouse could unwittingly be liable for debt he or she is unaware of.

The same applies to debt review – if one partner selects to be placed under debt review, then both partners are effectively placed under debt review.

Debt counsellors are supposed to get the permission of the spouse, but again this doesn’t always happen.

In many cases the spouses may be separated but not divorced when the one partner enters debt review. Even though they are no longer living together, by law they are married – whether through civil law or customary law – and the debt review will apply to both partners.

Even under customary marriage you can sign an antenuptial agreement, so all couples should carefully consider the pros and cons of the default community of property marriage regime.

When you marry, you are merging your finances – the good and the bad – so make sure you have a contract that protects you both.

This is an important time to think with your head and not with your heart.


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Maya Fisher-French author of Money Questions Answered

Previous Articles

Funeral policy fraud on the increase

When fraudsters access your personal information, they can use this information to take out a funeral policy in your name, and then claim benefits on the policy using a fake death certificate and other supporting documentation. “Finding out you are the victim of a...

SARS issues guidance on crypto assets

On 27 August 2021, SARS provided further guidance on the correct tax treatment of crypto assets and how this must be declared in people’s tax returns. SARS published a document on its website entitled Crypto Assets & Tax. The publication should perhaps best be...

Self-service facility for GEPF members

Technology is making it easier for GEPF members and pensioners to keep track of their pension information and claims process. By downloading the new GEPF self-service mobile app onto your device, you can remove the frustration of standing in long queues at GEPF...

Video: Being rich vs being wealthy

In his book The Psychology of Money, Morgan Housel writes about the difference between being rich and being wealthy. He defines riches as an income you earn, because that allows you to take on the debt to buy that R800 000 car or R40 000 handbag. Wealth on the other...

High-risk land investment leaves angry investors out of pocket

Many South African investors who bought UK property developments through SA-based property marketing company SJ Capital, have seen no returns for over 11 years. Investigations have found that the investment is extremely high risk and that investors were not fully...

Listen: Top tips for financially savvy kids

Maya (@mayaonmoney) chats to certified financial planner Gugu Sidaki (@gugusidaki) about ways to skill our children so that they can better manage money as adults. Gugu is author of My 3 Piggies, a series of books for kids all about money. Also listen to this podcast,...

Treasury’s solution to early withdrawal

As part of its ongoing retirement reform process, National Treasury is proposing the introduction of a two-bucket retirement system to provide for shorter and longer-term needs. John Anderson, executive at Alexander Forbes, says it may work along the same percentages...

The NSSF will not meet the needs of South Africans

While noble in its aim, the establishment of a National Social Security Fund (NSSF) is largely unworkable. In August, the department of Social Development issued a Green Paper on Comprehensive Social Security and Retirement Reform, which outlined a “super fund” to...

Life insurers see a 44% jump in death claims

Death claims statistics released recently by the Association for Savings and Investment South Africa (ASISA) have shown a massive 44% jump in lives lost with an overall increase of 64% in the value of claims paid compared to the previous year. Between 1 April 2020 and...

Video: Your money behaviour

Have you ever wondered how your money behaviour compares to that of your peers? Where do they save? What do they spend their money on and how much debt do they have? On this edition of Money Matters, we chat to Akash Dowra, Head of Client Insights at Discovery Bank,...

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This