Love is wonderful but every so often it can seduce us into acting hastily and making bad life decisions. One such a decision is choosing the wrong matrimonial property regime.

What is a matrimonial property regime?
A matrimonial property regime is a big word for the financial arrangement between you and your spouse. You could either be married:
· IN community of property
· OUT of community of property; or
· OUT of community of property WITH the accrual system.

Very important:

If you are fail to register an ante-nuptial agreement BEFORE you tie the knot, you are automatically married in community of property. This means that everything your spouse OWES and OWNS also belong to you (and vice versa).
Consequences of being married in community of property:

1. This regime means that you and your spouse share everything, including that car YOU bought before you two got married;

2. There is a common estate, therefore debt incurred by your husband or wife will also become your debt;

3. If your husband or wife is then unable to pay the debt, YOUR name will ALSO be listed on ITC (in other words, you will be blacklisted);

4. If the creditors then take judgment and ask for an attachment of property order, that car you bought before you got married can be confiscated to cover your spouse’s debt!;

5. If your spouse’s spending habits lead to sequestration or debt review, you will also form part of the sequestration or debt review.

Many couples, however, prefer South Africa’s default matrimonial property regime. It may work well for women or men who choose to stay at home and raise the kids. Your spouse’s salary is then also your salary and should you decide to go your separate ways and divorce, you will receive half of everything.