In the time leading up to your big day, there are so many moving parts as you plan the wedding of your dreams. Often, the last thing on the mind is the nitty-gritty details of the marriage contract you are about to enter into.
While it’s not the most fun topic, it is important to think about the legal and financial ramifications of your impending nuptials. Some couples choose to enter into a prenuptial agreement, a legal contract that determines the financial rights of each spouse if a divorce or death were to take place. A prenuptial agreement eliminates a battle over assets in the event of death of divorce.
Some may think its a bit negative to think about divorce before you’ve even gotten married. However, it is the practical option, especially if both spouses are financially well off on their own and have important assets they want to protect. Maybe you have an important family heirloom you don’t want to part ways with, a massive inheritance or want to ensure your family or children get certain assets in the event of a divorce or death.
While most people believe a prenup is only for the rich, it is becoming increasingly popular among the middle-class. People who have children from a prior relationship may sign one to ensure property and funding is passed to the child in the event of their death.
A prenup is also helpful to protect spouses from assuming their partner’s debt, which happens if you marry in community of property. If you know you have tons of student loans and don’t want to dump it on your partner in the event of your death, a prenup will protect them.
That being said, a prenuptial agreement is not for everyone. If you don’t have assets you need to protect, you can simply skip this step. Couples who do not sign this agreement automatically marry in community of property, as per South African law. Through this, you share your estate and in the event of divorce, everything is split equally.