Our law determines that if you get married without having entered into an antenuptial contract before the wedding, you are automatically married in community of property. Accordingly, the assets and liabilities of both spouses become part of their joint estate, with shared responsibilities and decision-making.

An antenuptial contract is an agreement signed and notarised before the marriage by parties who intend to marry each other out of community of property. In other words, each person wishes to retain ownership of  their own assets as opposed to pooling the assets to form one communal estate.

The decision not to enter into an antenuptial contract may have serious financial consequences, both during the course of the marriage and in the event of its dissolution (whether on death or divorce). It is therefore advisable to obtain proper legal advice from an experienced family law attorney before entering into a marriage.


Choosing a spouse is one of the most important choices you will ever make. Connected to this decision is another important consideration: choosing the right matrimonial property system. It may seem like a less romantic discussion than selecting your honeymoon destination, but it is no less important. Although, it is possible to amend your matrimonial regime postnuptially, it is also complicated, time-consuming, and costly.

Section 21(1) of the Matrimonial Property Act provides that spouses may apply jointly to the High Court for leave to change their matrimonial property system. The requirements for such an application are:

  • The applicant must provide sound reasons for the proposed change
  • Notice of the intended order must be given to all creditors at least two weeks prior to the matter being heard in court
  • The applicants must show convincing proof that no other person will be prejudiced by the proposed change
  • Notice of the change of matrimonial property system must be published in the Government Gazette and two local newspapers
  • The application must also be served on the Deeds Office

Even if all these requirements are met, the court has discretion whether or not to grant  the application.