The Prenup

Alright. So, do you know the Kanye West lyrics: “ We want prenup, we want prenup. It’s something that you need to have coz when she leaves your a**, she’s gonna leave with half.” Ever wonder what the heck he was singing about? Well, here’s what:

If you are already going through a divorce, your prenup(prenuptial agreement) would, most likely, already be in place. This is a contract that is signed before you get married. It’s usually put in place by the person who has the most money in order to protect their estate in the event of the marriage failing.The party entering the marriage with no assets will be unable to touch any of the other party’s money that was earned before the wedding. Clever, clever!

If a prenup has not been put in place, then when two people divorce, all of the combined money the couple have is simply halved. This happens even if only one of the parties has earned all of the money. However, if a prenup is in place, depending on whether there is accrual or not, the parties will either half the money earned during the marriage (sharing all assets and liabilities), or walk away with exactly what each party earned during the marriage.

If you’re reading this before you get married and someone is wanting you to sign a prenup before the wedding, then enter into one with accrual/ in community of property.  It simply protects the party with no assets for the duration of the marriage. What’s yours is mine and what’s mine is yours. Deal? Also it’s good to question does your future husband/wife have any ‘ trusts’, (don’t be embarrassed, it’s perfectly OK to enquire). Trusts can be a very tricky loophole. They are not to be taken lightly or overlooked. Get legal advice on how a trust works!!!

Sorry to bring in the issue of gender, but often this happens when wealthy men marry not-so-wealthy women, who then give up their jobs in order to be available to their working husbands, and to become home-makers and raise their children. These women do not work for the duration of the marriage. Nor do they save any money for a rainy day. When a divorce takes place, the wealthy man remains in a financially secure position and the woman, who hasn’t been working, finds herself in a financially desperate situation. I hear of this happening all of the time.

A lawyer will also draft the prenup. It is extremely important that both parties have someone look over this before they even consider signing it. Do not sign it unless you are completely happy with it!

People generally take a while to agree on a prenup. This is with good reason. You see, love is blind, and often at the stage of being presented with a prenup, one cannot foresee the possibility that one’s marriage might fail. After all, who gets married thinking it will one day end? “Til death do us part” generally means ” til death do us part “. In many cases, that vow should be ” til I get sick of listening to you and looking at your face”. It so often goes that if you cannot get someone to commit to giving you what should fairly be yours at the beginning of a marriage, you sure as hell won’t get them to commit to what should fairly be yours at the end of the marriage. People will sometimes sign whatever is put in front of them because they’re just so eager to get married to ‘the love of their lives’.

Before you go and sign a prenup that you don’t understand, just remember that interesting statistic: 45.7% of South African marriages end in divorce. That’s almost half of all marriages. Look around any crowded room and take a mental note, half of the people in that room will experience a divorce at some stage of their life!! Scrutinise any contracts you sign before you get married. After all, your partner wasn’t too embarrassed to present you with a prenup to begin with, so don’t be embarrassed to make sure that it works in both of your favour. It’s not being money hungry, it’s called being smart. You must protect yourself and your future family.  Hopefully, you won’t need to, but you just might thank me one day!


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