How does the ante-nuptial contract (ANC) work?
First, before getting married you must see an attorney to get full and proper advice on your options and which will be best for you.
Discussion around getting a contract can often be a little tense. The reason for this is that it is often looked at from the wrong angle. People assume an ante-nuptial contract is planning for your divorce. However, there are very solid reasons to get a contract set up in order to protect your marital assets. In community of property marital assets can be at risk if either partner runs into business difficulty or there are financial problems. Again, see a lawyer to advise you. It’s important!
By default a marriage is recorded as “in community of property”. If you don’t do anything to secure a contract this is how you will be married. If you wish to have a contract in place you will need to see an attorney to draw up the contract for you and then lodge it with the deeds office.
Your attorney will provide you with a letter to give your marriage officer. This letter confirms that a contract has been concluded.
I would advise that you select an attorney that is not connected to either of you – someone completely neutral.
It is very important to note that you cannot change this after you get married. This is to say if you get married in community of property, you can’t conclude an ante-nuptial contract afterward and vice versa.
Of course, there are circumstances where this can be done but it is very lengthy and costly. Where I have heard of this happening it can take 18 months and cost R60,000 upwards.
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