Antenuptial Contract

Many people feel uncomfortable about signing an antenuptial contract before even walking down the isle, but the reality is that an antenuptial contract is an essential ingredient in the recipe of success when it comes to making a life long commitment.

In South Africa, if you do not sign an antenuptial contract then by default the state assumes that all assets and liabilities will be shared – this may seem more in tune with the spirit of marriage, but this option will expose you in the following ways:

  • If one of you goes into debt, creditors have claim to all of your assets – that’s your assets as well
  • If one of you has your own business and becomes insolvent, your home and all assets, in both of your names, becomes fodder for debt collectors
  • There is no financial independence, certain transactions, such the sale of shares, need the consent of both parties
  • If one partner should die, the estate of both the deceased and surviving partner will be wound up because it is a joint estate – not great for the surviving partner who will find themselves in legal limbo for a while

In short, there are two forms of an antenuptial contract:

  • Community of property without accrual
  • Community of property with accrual

Antenuptial contract without accrual


Assets acquired before or during the marriage remain separate throughout the course of the marriage. Assets are not shared and each partner has a separate estate.

Pros of an antenuptial contract without accrual

  • If one of you becomes insolvent, creditors may not attach the assets of the other
  • Each of you is legally obliged to offer financial support to one another should one of you be unable to support himself/herself

Cons of an antenuptial contract without accrual

  • In the case of death or divorce, you are entitled only to those assets you have accrued in your name – should one of you choose to stay at home to raise children, that partner would not be entitled to the assets accumulated by the other partner

This form of an antenuptial contract favours those who have accumulated substantial assets prior to marriage and wish to protect them.

Antenuptial contract with accrual

Each partner states the value of his or her respective assets at the beginning of marriage. Thereafter any assets are shared 50/50. One can state that specific assets be excluded from the accrual, such an inheritances, donations etc.

Pros of an antenuptial contract with accrual

  • You both share in the wealth accumulated during marriage
  • If each of you owned property before the marriage, it remains in your respective names
  • You each conduct your own independent financial affairs
  • If one of you goes into debt, it cannot be claimed from the estate of the other
  • In the case of divorce, any assets made whilst married are shared – it doesn’t matter who acquired them; each partner’s current net asset value is calculated by subtracting all liabilities from assets
  • The ANC can be tailored to suit your needs
  • It protects the partner who remains at home to care for the family

To give you more assistance regarding an antenuptial contract, you can visit or call Gerhard Barnard Attorneys in Pretoria, South Africa.

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79 Glen Village South c/o Hans Strydom & Olympus ave Faerie Glen Pretoria 086 137 5221 Author: Gerhard Barnard