Untangling Your Finances After Divorce: A Guide for South Africans

By 23rd February 2024Family Law
dividing assets in divorce

Imagine building a beautiful sandcastle with your partner, each contributing grains and shells. What happens when the tide rises, symbolizing a divorce? This is where the matrimonial property system you chose at the start comes in, determining how the “sandcastle” of your shared assets gets divided.

In South Africa, you have three options:

  • Community of Property: Like sharing a single bucket, everything you own becomes joint upon marriage. This means dividing equally both assets and debts, even if one spouse brought more to the beach.
  • Out of Community with Accrual: It’s like having separate buckets, but the growth during the marriage is shared. So, if one spouse builds a sandcastle masterpiece, the other might get a share of its size, even though they didn’t directly contribute.
  • Out of Community without Accrual: Strict separation! Each keeps their own bucket and sandcastles, regardless of who built them. Debts also stay separate.

Choosing the right system is crucial! It impacts how your beach gets divided in case of divorce. By default, you’re in Community of Property, but you can change that with an antenuptial contract.

Divorce itself isn’t the sandcastle wrecker. It’s the disagreement about dividing the sand that makes things messy and expensive. If you can agree on how to split the beach, the court will usually approve it. But if you fight over every grain, lawyers (like tide waves) can quickly drain your resources.


  • Choose your matrimonial property system wisely. Seek legal advice if needed.
  • Communication and agreement are key to a smooth (and affordable) divorce.
  • Consider mediation to find common ground before lawyers get involved.

By understanding these options and planning ahead, you can navigate the legal waves of divorce with more clarity and less financial stress.

We understand that dividing assets during a divorce can be overwhelming and emotionally charged. However, understanding your options and having a skilled legal team on your side can make the process smoother and protect your financial interests. We specialize in guiding clients through South Africa’s matrimonial property systems, ensuring an equitable and efficient division of assets based on your specific circumstances. Whether you’re in community of property, out of community with accrual, or out of community without accrual, we provide clear explanations, strategic guidance, and effective communication to alleviate stress and achieve a desirable outcome. Don’t navigate this difficult time alone. Contact us today for a confidential consultation and explore how we can empower you through this transition.

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