Dewar Attorneys


An Antenuptial Contract (ANC) is a contract of protection. It protects the ones you love from the harsh ravages of modern life in the event that either you or your spouse encounter misfortune.

Secure your future together


What is an ANC: An ANC is an agreement entered into by two people who are get married and want to use this contract to regulate their financial arrangements to protect each other and their individual assets during the marriage from outside threats and to regulate the division of assets at the end of the marriage. This is most important when one of the spouses passes away.

Who may get an ANC: Anyone who decides to get married may have an ANC drawn up, whether it is a marriage in the sense of Western traditions, civil union, same sex or an African traditional marriage.

What happens if we do not sign an ANC: In South African law, you are married in community of property unless there is an ANC stating otherwise.

What are the drawbacks to not being married with an ANC in place:

  • You are jointly liable for each other’s debt’s which can become quite difficult in cases of insolvency and includes any debt left behind by your spouse after their passing.
  • You require your partner to co-sign most legal contracts and in the event of friction in the marriage, this can prove a major source of contention.
  • If you are financially stronger than your spouse, you essentially gift them half of everything you own.
  • The reality is that not everyone is good with money and the mistakes of one’s spouse can ruin you both financially leaving you with no safety net.
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Traditional marriages are recognised in terms of South African law as a legal marriage.

These marriages follow the tradition that the marriage is in community of property unless the couple decided that they don’t want that. If they don’t want to be married in community of property then they need to sign an ANC with a notary before their marriage ceremony.


As part our new democracy, same sex relationships were finally recognised as real relationships and same sex marriages have also been sanctioned. As part of this process, they have been given the same status as conventional marriages. The property regimes are the same, the marriage is automatically in community of property unless an ANC has been signed with a notary before the marriage. We are able to assist in drawing up this type of ANC with the variations.


When parties are married in community of property(COP) they own everything together. There is no longer mine and yours, it is all ours and it does not matter if it was owned before the marriage or was bought during the marriage. When parties to a marriage are married in community of property, they do own all their assets jointly. That means that each party has a half share in each asset. It is referred to as an undivided half share. to illustrate this point, it means that both parties own half of their home, and that the rooms are not divided into who owns which room. There are some contracts that each party can do on their own but some, like buying a house, need both spouses to sign. There is a benefit of being married in community of property, that it is a commitment to the marriage. At the same time, both parties will share in the profits of the marriage.


There are many people who believe that in South Africa we have a legal concept of a common law husband/wife, where after a certain period of time, 2 people that are living together get the rights of a husband or a wife with regard to their partner. This is not actually the case. The closest we get to that is a universal partnership and this has its own requirements before it is considered to be one.

The challenger is that the person who wants to show that there is a legal partnership has to prove the elements of a partnership for it to be valid and well, that usually happens after the relationship has ended, costs money and in all likelihood, their former partner is not likely to agree. It then becomes a messy drawn-out court case. This is more problematic if a partner dies. There is no right to inherit unless it is covered in a will. There is a way to avoid these risks and that is to have a co-habitation agreement. The rights and duties of each party are set out during the relationship so that both parties know where they stand. Duties of support can be included, along with most importantly, what happens with the assets if the relationship comes to an end, will they be split equally and what will happen with those things that were bought jointly. Who will get what? If you are planning to have children, what are the arrangements for care and contact if the relationship splits, whose name will they take and so on. The best time to draw up a co-habitation agreement is when you first move in together, that is after all the beginning of your co-habitation or if that is not workable, then as soon as possible after that or when there is a big change in your relationship, like moving to a new home, buying a home together, having a child. The agreement won’t replace a will and we recommend drawing up wills in addition to having a co-habitation agreement. We can help, we can draw up a cohabitation agreement, tailored to meet your needs. Contact us for further information through this website.