How the family property will be divided up depends on what property regime the couple adopted when they got married. This will usually be covered in the ante-nuptial agreement if there is one or, if there is no pre-marital contract, then it is determined by law.
The default legal position is that civil marriages are in community of property. This means that everything that you own is shared, including property and debts. Accrual means that everything that you earn or buy after you have married also becomes part of the joint estate. If you get divorced, the shared property is divided equally between you. Any debts are also shared.
If you sign an ante-nuptial agreement(ANC), you can choose to get married:
- in community of property
- out of community of property without accrual
- out of community of property with accrual.
If the marriage is out of community of property without accrual, then each person keeps their own property from before the marriage and keeps whatever they earn or acquire during the marriage.
If the marriage is out of community of property with accrual then each person keeps their own property from before the marriage but anything that is accumulated during the marriage is shared. Some things, like inheritances or gifts remain separate.