MARRIAGE AND PROPERTY
Buying a home may be one of the biggest financial commitments in your life. It is hugely important to understand what type of marital contract applies to you, and your rights and obligations associated with this
Praven Subbramoney, CEO of Private Bank Lending at FNB, does not have good news for Matlou.
“The answer to your question would be no, because the debt review applies to the marriage under these circumstances. Under debt review, you may not enter into any more credit agreements.”
Subbramoney goes on to explain that, because of Matlou’s customary marriage status, the law does not allow her to make a property purchase without her husband’s consent.
“Customary marriages are recognised by South African law and, following a Constitutional Court ruling, monogamous customary marriages are considered to be in community of property.
“Under South African law, all marriages – and these would include customary, Hindu (if solemnised by a Hindu priest who is a marriage officer), Muslim (if solemnised by a Muslim cleric who is a marriage officer) and civil unions – are automatically considered to be in community of property,” says Subbramoney.
“Simply put, if the two of you do split up, the profits from the sale must be split down the middle, even if you have paid the bulk of the costs or owned the property before you got married.
“Also, if you are married in community of property, you cannot go out and buy a house on your own. You will always need your partner’s consent,” he says.
“This means that the estates of each partner are merged into a single joint estate for the extent of the marriage. If the marriage ends, the joint estate is then divided and distributed equally between husband and wife. Husband and wife hold equal powers to administer the joint estate and also incur debts that bind the joint estate.”
NEW HOME Various types of marriage contracts will govern your rights to property ownership Next week we look at affordable housing and how you can become a property owner without spending millions. If you have any questions about this, or any other...
Praven Subbramoney, CEO of Private Bank Lending at FNB