The dotted line
Before tying the knot, it’s important to put together an antenuptial contract.
Attorney Simone Franks tells us more…
Recently, Livingspace held a wedding workshop for 120 readers in Cape Town, with talks and demonstrations given by industry experts to prepare them for their big days. Simone Franks of Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr attorneys provided a few pointers about put-ting together an antenuptial contract.
What was the presentation you gave at the workshop about?
I presented a general overview of antenuptial contracts (ANCs),
the essentials to consider before entering into such a contract and the permutations one can encounter.
What exactly is an antenuptial contract?
An ANC is an agreement between two indi-viduals having contractual capacity, who are legally competent to enter into a marriage
or civil union. In the ANC, their intended matrimonial property system is formalised.
Do you deal with antenuptial contracts at your firm?
Yes, Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr is a full-service business law firm.
One of my specialist areas of law is notarial contracts, which includes ANCs.
What legalities should a couple think about before entering into a civil union or marriage?
An ANC must be entered into before a civil union or marriage is solemnised and must be registered in the Deeds Registry within a pre-scribed period.
It must contain the couple’s proposed matrimonial property system and may reflect other elected stipulations.
Parties are advised to consult an attorney well ahead of time, so they can understand the proposed contract and ensure that their intentions are accurately recorded.
Should couples be aware of how they would individually be affected were they to get divorced?
A marriage or civil union may terminate either on death or divorce.
The parties should thus be aware of the legal and proprietary conse-quences of their ANC in both instances.
What advice would you give couples about to tie the knot?
They should not be forced by parents or other third parties to enter into an ANC, or be pres-surised into signing a document that has been arranged for them by others.
They must possess a real knowledge or understanding of such an agreement’s content.
Was there any topic in particular that couples were most interested in finding out about at the workshop?
The consequences of not entering into an ANC timeously and to what extent the situ-ation may be remedied.
There was also great interest in the stipulations that are allowed to be recorded in the contract and the flexibility permitted by law and public policy.