Love is in the fine print

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The month of February is synonymous with love, romance and roses as Valentine’s Day celebrations take the spotlight. In anticipation of an upsurge in marriage proposals, particularly in this leap year, local senior family legal expert Susan Abro of Susan Abro Attorney urges newly engaged couples to consider planning for their lives together by carefully selecting the marital framework best suited to their needs.

“Amidst the intoxication of love, couples often neglect the essential discussion regarding how they intend to manage their finances and assets, to their detriment. It is of critical importance for couples to seek legal advice when compiling an ante-nuptial contract,” says Abro.

An ante-nuptial contract is a legally binding document signed prior to marriage, serving to regulate the financial relationship between a couple. “In South Africa, the matrimonial property regime falls into two categories: in community of property or out of community of property, with the latter further divided into with accrual or without accrual,” explains Abro.

Once you have made an informed decision regarding which marital regime is best suited for you, couples are required to execute the ante-nuptial contract in the presence of a notary public and two witnesses. The contract is then officially registered at the deeds office, becoming a public document.

“It’s important to note that an ante-nuptial contract is neither a will nor a divorce order; its purpose is to establish a framework for the financial arrangement between a couple and to provide protection against potential creditors,” says Abro.

So, if you are asked the all-important question this Valentine’s Day and agree to tie the knot, make sure your happily ever after is detailed in the fine print.

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