Have you been married in community of property and are now considering a divorce? This blog post highlights the must-knows in plain language.
What is “In Community of Property”?
It simply means that you and your spouse’s assets and liabilities (debts) automatically merged into one joint estate when you got married. You and your spouse are now the co-owners of the joint estate. This is the default matrimonial property regime/system in South Africa.
In plain language: you share all your assets and all your debts. You share everything.
Which Assets are Excluded from the Joint Estate?
A very limited category of assets are excluded from the joint estate. Excluded assets include donations and bequests to a spouse on a specific condition that it shall not form part of the joint estate. In the event of divorce it is advisable to seek legal assistance from attorneys that specialise in divorce law and in worst case scenarios even insolvency law.
In Community of Property & Divorce – The Effect
The value of the joint estate must be calculated. It is the difference between the value of all assets and the value of all liabilities. It does not include the excluded assets. Each spouse is entitled to 50 % of the value of the joint estate. The assets (which include the house, motor vehicles, furniture, etc.) must be divided accordingly.
The Relevant Legislation
Read Section 14 – 20 of the Matrimonial Property Act 88 of 1984 for full details about this matrimonial property regime.
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