As the big day approached, Bongani’s cousin, an Attorney, paid them an unexpected visit. Over a cup of coffee, she gently broached the topic of an antenuptial contract, a legal document that could greatly impact their married life. Bongani and Anna exchanged puzzled glances; they had never considered the need for such a document.
Bongani’s cousin explained that an antenuptial contract, often abbreviated as ANC, is a legal agreement entered into before marriage to govern the proprietary and financial consequences of their marriage. In South Africa, without an ANC, the default matrimonial property regime is ‘in community of property,’ where spouses share all assets and liabilities equally.
Realising the importance of this legal safeguard, Bongani and Anna decided to explore the necessary steps for creating an antenuptial contract, even if it was at the eleventh hour.
1.Consulting with an Attorney:
The first step was to consult with an Attorney, a legal professional authorized to draft antenuptial contracts. Bongani and Anna scheduled an urgent meeting to discuss their individual assets, debts, and preferences.
2.Drafting the Antenuptial Contract:
With the information gathered, the Attorney drafted the antenuptial contract tailored to Bongani and Anna’s specific needs. They discussed various clauses, including the accrual system, which defines how assets acquired during the marriage will be shared or kept separate.
3.Signing the Contract:**
Time was of the essence, but the signing of the antenuptial contract required careful attention. Bongani and Anna, along with their two witnesses, signed the document in the presence of the Attorney before the date of the wedding. It was an important moment, as they were actively choosing the legal framework for their marriage.
4.Registration with the Deeds Office:
To make the antenuptial contract legally binding, it needed to be registered at the Deeds Office. With the guidance of their Attorney, Bongani and Anna worked with their Notary Public to ensure that the registration process was completed on time.
In South Africa, an antenuptial contract must be signed before the marriage ceremony. Bongani and Anna, with the support of Bongani’s diligent cousin, successfully navigated the process just in time. Bongani’s cousin explained that if they had decided to have a ceremonial wedding instead of a Home Affairs wedding, this would mean that they technically only had to have the ANC signed before or on the day of the wedding. Anna could even sign the ANC in her wedding gown on the day! If, however, they had opted for a Home Affairs wedding, they would have had to be at Home Affairs on a stipulated date with their ANC registered, notarized and proof thereof.
With all the technicalities out of the way, as they stood before the altar on their wedding day, they knew that the legal foundation they had laid would not only protect their individual interests but also contribute to a more transparent and secure future together.
In conclusion, Bongani and Anna’s whirlwind journey to create an antenuptial contract serves as a reminder to all couples: legal considerations are an integral part of wedding preparations. Consulting with an Attorney, drafting a personalised contract, timely signing, and proper registration are crucial steps to ensure a solid legal foundation for a marriage according to South African law.