Category Archives: Marital law

Geldigheid van ʼn huweliksvoorwaardekontrak

A2_BDie opstel en ondertekening van ʼn huweliksvoorwaardekontrak moet versigtig benader word. Benewens die feit dat die inhoud feitelik korrek moet wees, moet al die nodige bepalings daarin vervat word om die kontrak geldig te maak. Indien daar versuim om ʼn huweliksvoorwaardekontrak op te stel, mag dit lei daartoe dat ʼn huwelik as binne gemeenskap van goedere beskou word, selfs al was dit nie die partye se bedoeling toe die kontrak gesluit was nie.

Prokureurs en Notarisse word vertrou met die opstelling van ʼn huweliksvoorwaardeskontrak. Dit is ‘n kontrak wat deur die betrokke partye onderteken word om die huweliksbedeling te reguleer. As ‘n paartjie nie ‘n huweliksvoorwaardeskontrak teken nie, sal die huweliksbedeling binne gemeenskap van goedere wees. ʼn Huweliksvoorwaardeskontrak wys daarop dat die huweliksbedeling buite gemeenskap van goedere is. Die partye moet dus spesifiek stipuleer of hulle die aanwasbedeling op hul huwelik van toepassing wil hê al dan nie.

Die saak van B v B, soos in die Appèlhof voorgekom, bespreek die belang van die nodige bepalings in ʼn huweliksvoorwaardeskontrak wat tot die sluit van ‘n geldige kontrak lei. In hierdie geval was daar geen bepalings gestipuleer ten opsigte van enige van die bates wat in die huweliksvoorwaardeskontrak uiteengesit is nie. Die bates was ook behoorlik geïdentifiseer nie. In B v B het die hof gestel dat indien die bepalings van ‘n kontrak so vaag en onsamehangend is, en dit onmoontlik is om ‘n sinvolle konstruksie daarvan te maak, moet die kontrak as nietig beskou word as gevolg van vaagheid.

Ingevolge artikel 6(1) van die Wet op Huweliksgoedere kan ‘n party tot ‘n voorgenome huwelik, wat nie die waarde in die kontrak uiteensit vir die doel om ʼn bewys te lewer van die bates van sy of haar boedel teen die tyd van die aanvang van die huwelik nie, dit binne ses maande van die sluiting van die huwelik in ‘n verklaring bevestig met behulp van ’n notaris. Ingevolge artikel 6 (4) van die Wet op Huweliksgoedere word die netto waarde van die boedel van ‘n gade as nul geag ten tye van die huwelik, indien die betrokke party nie die bewys betyds lewer nie. In effek is so ‘n kontrak geldig, maar dit sal beteken dat ʼn huwelik as binne gemeenskap van goederebeskou, aangesien daar niks van die oploping uitgesluit is nie.

As ‘n kontrak egter teenstrydig en onsamehangend is in ander opsigte, kan dit nie as ‘n geldige kontrak nie beskou word nie, aangesien daar geen sekerheid is oor die betekenis van die kontrak en wat die partye beoog om te bereik nie. Dit beteken dat die kontrak nie die Hof in staat stel om uitvoering te gee aan die bedoeling van die partye ten die tye van die sluiting van die kontrak nie.

Die gevolg van so ‘n kontrak is dat die huweliksvoorwaardeskontrak nietig verklaar sal word as gevolg van onsamehangendheid en dat die huweliksbedeling ingevolge die Wet op Huweliksgoedere in gemeenskap van goedere sal wees.

Partye word dus aangemoedig om hul huwelikskontrakte deeglik te lees en seker te maak dat hulle die bepalings daarvan verstaan en dat die kontrak hul bedoelings uitbeeld, sonder enige verdere verduidelikings of bewyse.

B v B (952/12) [2014] ZASCA 14 (24 Maart 2014)

Wet op Huweliksgoedere 88 van 1984

Hierdie is ‘n algemene inligtingstuk en moet gevolglik nie as regs- of ander professionele advies benut word nie. Geen aanspreeklikheid kan aanvaar word vir enige foute of weglatings of enige skade of verlies wat volg uit die gebruik van enige inligting hierin vervat nie. Kontak altyd u regsadviseur vir spesifieke en toegepaste advies. (E&OE)

Validity of Antenuptial Contracts

A2_BOne must be careful when drafting and signing an Antenuptial Contract. Aside from ensuring that the contents is all correct, one must also ensure that all the necessary provisions are contained therein to make the contract valid. The consequences of neglecting to do so may result in a marriage in community of property even though the parties had no intention of this at the time of their marriage.

Attorneys are often trusted with the task of drafting an Antenuptial Contract. This is a contract, which one signs to regulate the property regime of a marriage. If a couple does not sign, an Antenuptial Contract then the marital property regime will be that of in community of property. The presence of an Antenuptial Contract means that the marital property regime is that of out of community of property and the parties must specifically stipulate whether they would like the accrual system to apply to their marriage or not.

The importance of ensuring that all the necessary provisions are contained in the Antenuptial Contract to result in a valid contract was discussed in the 2014 Supreme Court of Appeal Case of B v B[1]. In this case, no values were stated in respect of any of the assets listed in the Antenuptial Contract and they were also not properly identified. In B v B the court stated that if the terms of a contract are so vague and incoherent as to be incapable of a sensible construction then the contract must be regarded as void for vagueness.[2]

According to Section 6(1) of the Matrimonial Property Act[3] ,a party to an intended marriage which does not, for the purpose of proof of the value of his or her estate at the time of the commencement of the marriage, declare the value in the contract, then he or she may do so within six months of the marriage in a statement attested to by a notary. If this is not done, according to Section 6(4) of the Marital Property Act, the net value of the estate of a spouse is then deemed to be nil at the time of the marriage. In effect, such a contract is valid but it will effectively render the marriage in community of property since nothing was excluded from the accrual.

However, if a contract is contradictory and incoherent in other respects then it cannot be seen as a valid contract since there is no certainty as to the meaning of the contract and what the parties seek to achieve. This means that the contract would not embody terms that would enable to court to give effect to the intention of the parties at the time the contract was concluded.

The result of such a contract is that the Antenuptial Contract would be void for vagueness and that the marital property regime would be the default position according to the Marital Property Act, which is in community of property.

Therefore, parties are encouraged to read their contracts thoroughly and ensure that they understand the terms thereof and that the contract embodies their intentions without any further explanations or evidence.

[1] (952/12) [2014] ZASCA 14 (24 March 2014).

[2] B v B (952/12) [2014] ZASCA 14 (24 March 2014) par 7.

[3] 88 of 1984.

This article is a general information sheet and should not be used or relied on as legal or other professional advice. No liability can be accepted for any errors or omissions nor for any loss or damage arising from reliance upon any information herein. Always contact your legal adviser for specific and detailed advice. Errors and omissions excepted (E&OE)

How to change your marital status to another form of marriage contract

1BSection 21(1) of the Matrimonial Property Act provides that a husband and wife may apply jointly to court for leave to change the matrimonial property system which applies to their marriage.

Requirements

The decision of Lourens et Uxor 1986 (2) SA 291 (C) sets out guidelines that the court follow with regard to applications in terms of section 21(1) of the Matrimonial Property Act No. 88 of 1984.

In order for the parties to change their matrimonial property system, the act mentions the following requirements:

There must be sound reasons for the proposed change.

According to South African Law, the parties who wish to become married out of community of property must enter into an Ante nuptial contract prior to the marriage ceremony being concluded. If they fail to do so then they are automatically married in community of property.

Of course, many people are unaware of this provision and should be able to satisfy the court that it should change their matrimonial property system if it was their express intention that they intended to be married out of community of property.

Sufficient notice of the proposed change must be given to all creditors of the spouses.

The Act requires that notice of the parties’ intention to change their matrimonial property regime must be given to the Registrar of Deeds, must be published in the Government Gazette and two local newspapers at least two weeks prior to the date on which the Application will be heard and must be given by certified post to all the known creditors of the spouses.

Moreover, the draft Notarial contract which the parties propose to register must be annexed to their Application.

The court must be satisfied that no other person will be prejudiced by the proposed change.

The court must be satisfied that the rights of creditors of the parties must be preserved in the proposed contract so the application must contain sufficient information about the parties’ assets and liabilities to enable the court to ascertain whether or not there are sound reasons for the proposed change and whether or not any particular person will be prejudiced by such change.

Once the court is satisfied that the requirements have been met, it may order that the existing matrimonial property system may no longer apply to their marriage and authorize them to enter into a Notarial contract by which their future matrimonial property system is to be regulated on such conditions as the court may think fit.

  • It should also be stated whether or not either of the applicants has been sequestrated in the past and, if so, when, and in what circumstances. The case number of any rehabilitation application must be furnished.
  • It should also be stated whether or not there are any pending legal proceedings in which any creditor is seeking to recover payment of any alleged debt due by the couple or either of them.

Care must be taken to motivate fully the proposed change in the existing matrimonial property system. Applicants must explain why no other person will be prejudiced by the proposed change. In any event, the order sought, and the contract which it is proposed to register, shall contain a provision which preserves the rights of pre-existing creditors.

  • The application must disclose where the parties are domiciled and, if they are not resident there when the application is made, where they are resident. If there has been a recent change in domicile or residence it should be disclosed so that the Court can consider whether the application has been brought in the appropriate forum and/or whether or not additional notice of the application should be given. Ordinarily the application should be brought in the Court in whose area of jurisdiction the parties are domiciled and ordinarily resident.

The Negative

Unfortunately, the application is expensive in that both spouses have to apply to the High Court on notice to the Registrar of Deeds and all known creditors, to be granted leave to sign a Notarial Contract having the effect of a postnuptial contract which, after registration, will regulate you new matrimonial property system.

It would thus be cheapest and best to see an Attorney or Notary prior to the marriage ceremony being concluded to draft a proper Ante nuptial Contract regulating the matrimonial Property of the parties involved without any confusion.

This article is a general information sheet and should not be used or relied on as professional advice. No liability can be accepted for any errors or omissions nor for any loss or damage arising from reliance upon any information herein. Always contact your financial adviser for specific and detailed advice.