Step 28

Marriage Contracts

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Bruidsgids timeline Step 28

How to get the perfect marriage contract


The registration process of a marriage contract can cause a lot of unnecessary stress – here are a few guidelines outlining the process.

All information provided by Engelbrecht Attorneys – Eloise Engelbrecht

1. The Consultation

Each marriage contract process must start with research, therefore, you as a couple should sit together and look for attorneys that you can relate with. After you find the perfect attorneys, locate their contact details on the website or their social media page. Thereafter, contact them and request information to book a consultation and quotation.

2. The Drafting

After the consultation, which can be done online or in person, the drafting stage of the contract is entered. You as clients make the agreed-upon payment and provide all the information needed to the attorneys. A framework of your marriage contract is sent to you in order to sign it off or make any needed adjustments.

3. The Notarising

When you as a couple are happy with the draft, as sent to you by the attorneys, send it back to them sealed and signed. Thereafter, the process of notarisation and registration commences. Notarising is the process by which the marriage contract is certified by a notary public who verifies the identities of the individuals who have signed the document and marks it with an official stamp. Notarising and registration must be completed before the date of marriage; therefore, planning is essential.

4. The Registration

The signed and notarised contracts are then sent to the deeds office for registration. This part of the process is the lengthiest, 4 – 6 weeks, and must be done within the first three months of marriage. This is the last step that needs to be completed in order to create a marriage contract.

Here are the options by which you can get married


▪ In community of property

“What’s yours is mine; what’s mine is yours” 

Previously, this was regarded as the only way a marriage should be entered into. Nowadays, your marriage officiator will most often require proof that you have already signed a marriage contract. A marriage in community of property means that all past, current and future assets and debts of both spouses become part of a single, undivided estate. Spouses are, according to this dispensation, therefore entitled to all the assets of the other partner, but also responsible for all the debts incurred by the other spouse.

▪ Out of community of property including the accrual

“What’s mine is mine; what’s yours is yours, but everything we worked for together will be shared”

Upon signing a marriage contract, and if not specifically excluded, you and your spouse will be married out of community of property with the inclusion of the accrual. This means that the spouses will each maintain a separate estate and only upon dissolution of the marriage, either by death or divorce, will there be an accrual calculated. The accrual will then be divided between the spouses. 

▪ Out of community of property excluding the accrual

“What’s mine is mine; what’s yours is yours, now and forever” 

Upon signing a marriage contract, you may instruct your attorney to exclude the accrual from the contract. This means that each spouse will maintain a separate estate and that there will be no division of assets or of a marital accrual upon dissolution of the marriage. 

The above is a brief discussion of the financial and legal implications of each marital option that may be considered upon entering into the state of marriage. Other implications that you should also consider are pension and estate taxes, spousal insolvency and spousal permission for specific financial transactions. These matters should be discussed in detail with your legal practitioner. Give careful consideration to these matters and discuss them soberly and objectively as they are important and provide protection to both marriage partners if approached with the necessary care.

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