According to Statistics South Africa, more weddings are registered in December than any other month.

“If couples can work as a team and commit to a clear financial plan that is beneficial to both, from the beginning of the relationship, you increase your chances of achieving financial success and a more stable relationship,” says Liberty legal marketing specialist Faeeza Khan.

Khan suggests you ask the following four financial questions:

Will we be married in community of property?

When you get married in community of property, you agree to share all financial obligations with your spouse. If you are married in this way, you will not be able to enter into any transaction without the consent of your spouse.

For example, if you’d like to buy a new car, both spouses will have to agree and sign the contract. All assets and liabilities accumulated before and during the marriage is the joint responsibility of both spouses.

How much debt are you bringing into the marriage?

Debt is one of the biggest financial challenges couples need to deal with. It could be worse for new couples if one person could bring a lot of debt into the relationship, which the other partner may need to help settle before they start building their wealth.

If married in community of property, both spouses will be jointly liable for the debt, even though the original contractual agreement that was signed before the marriage only involved one signatory.

That means if one of the spouses defaults on their financial obligations with a creditor, both parties will be held liable to settle the outstanding debt.

What personal and financial risks do we need to cover in our marriage?

As soon as you say, “I do”, your lifestyle and responsibilities change. Your spouse becomes your responsibility both personally and financially.
It also means the risks you faced as a single person changes significantly. If something happens to you, your spouse will be left to deal with the financial risks.

Make sure that from day one you have a will in place that clearly outlines what must happen to your money in the event of your death or disability.

Should we meet with a financial adviser before we get married?

In Khan’s view, it is vital that new couples ensure that their financial plans and risks are covered. For instance, a meeting with a financial adviser or planner should include estate planning, retirement planning, personal risk planning and business planning.

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