Sexually transmitted debt – your debt is my debt

by | Jun 11, 2020 | Personal Finance

STD’s refer to sexually transmitted debt – and they can have more severe and longer lasting effects than the nasty physical ones! The physical ones might give you an irritable itch – a financial STD might see you lose your house and everything you worked for, even before you met your partner!

Most of us want the conventional happily ever after, but reality sometimes doesn’t play along. If you are in a relationship that might lead to marriage, you have to take a look at the different types of marriage contracts in SA.

Marriage in community of property
This type of marriage normally means – what is yours is ours, what is mine is ours and what is ours is ours, all jointly. This includes debt incurred while you are married – and even debt before you were married.

According to noted attorneys, VANDERSPUY CAPE TOWN, “when parties are married in community of property, their individual assets and liabilities are joined together in one estate and If the marriage is dissolved through death or divorce, the surviving or divorced spouse is entitled to 50% of the joint estate – which includes assets and liabilities not acquired by that spouse”.

In effect this means:

  • If one of you goes out and splurges on a credit card, both of you are liable for it. That expensive fishing rod, those fabulous shoes and the unforgettable boys/girls night on the card – is 100% your responsibility to pay as well!
  • Even if a debt is incurred solely in your partner’s name while you are married _ the creditor (bank) can go after you for that debt as well.
  • If the love of your life has debt before marriage, you will also be liable for the full debt and debt repayment to the creditor.
  • When you can’t manage your debt repayments and you apply for debt review – it will have to be a joint application, even if the one spouse has little or no debt to their name.


One of the most important things to remember about sexually transmitted debt is that being married IN community of property is the default marriage regime in SA.

So unless you have an ante- nuptial contract (aka a pre-nup) in place and on-hand when getting married by a licensed marriage officer (even if it is at Home Affairs) your marriage is considered to be in community of property and all of the above applies.

The other popular types of marriage contracts in SA are:

Married out of community of property (Ante-nuptial without accrual)
This means that on paper, you exist as two separate financial entities. Your possessions and debts are yours – and your partner’s possessions and debts are theirs.
Should you be separated by divorce or death – you keep what you had before you were married, and anything that you acquired during your marriage.

Married out of community of property, with accrual (Ante-nuptial with accrual)
With this, both parties maintain their separate financial identities – but everything that they earn, or the growth of their assets after marriage is evenly divided between them. Some things like inheritances are excluded from this.

NB*** Customary marriages only – are considered to be out of community of property

Everyone wants the fairytale – but we should all take the time to consult with an attorney, a financial planner and/or a debt counsellor before we take the plunge.
Nowadays, we must discuss money in a relationship. In fact, I would suggest that you ask for a copy of your significant other’s credit record before you asks to meet their parents!

Love is blind. Don’t be the victim of sexually transmitted debt. There is no ointment to cure that!


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