What Accrual Means In Matrimonial Property | Legal Articles


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What Accrual Means In Matrimonial Property


In the English language vocabulary context, accrual means what has been accrued or gained. In the legal context, the same meaning does apply and in the context of matrimonial property systems, accrual means what has been added to or gained apart from what has been there before.

The above synopsis is necessary to understand how marriage Out of Community of Property with the inclusion of the Accrual system works. It simple terms it means community of property is excluded but that what has been accrued will be subject to division.

In this article we will highlight on a few principles with regards to the Accrual system for the benefit of our clients who might be considering this matrimonial property system as an option.


Is the Accrual system provided for in our law?

Absolutely, the Accrual system was introduced in South Africa by way of legislation being the Matrimonial Property Act 88 of 1984.

How does the Accrual system work?

Each spouse retains their separate estate which subsisted before the marriage. What is only shared is the difference in growth in the individual estates during the time when the marriage subsisted.

Is there anything that does not fall within Accrual?

Yes. Inheritance, damages awarded for claims of defamation, pain and suffering, donations of one spouse to the other, and any assets that the spouses agreed to exclude in their Antenuptial Contract.

At what point will Accrual play a part?

When the marriage ends, such as by divorce or death of either of the spouses.

Do spouses need to specifically exclude Accrual in the ANC?

Yes they do. In the event that spouses wish to exclude accrual they must specifically provide for it in their Antenuptial contract, if they do not then Accrual will apply.

What are some of the most important things to note about Antenuptial Contracts?

An Antenuptial Contract must;

  • Be registered with the Deeds Office within 3 months from date of execution;
  • Must be executed (signed) before a Notary who must also authenticate to such effect;
  • Only a registered Notary may authenticate the signatures;
  • Be executed before the marriage and in front of two witnesses;
  • If executed after the conclusion of the marriage, then the High Court must give authorisation after determination of a Court application as per Section 21 of the Matrimonial Property Act of 1984.


Our Family Law Department has Attorneys and Notaries that are endowed with years of experience and knowledge to assist with the execution of Antenuptial Contracts before the marriage is concluded. Where spouses wish to alter their matrimonial property system, we assist with the High Court application as per Section 21 of the Matrimonial Property Act of 1984. Our approach is professional and committed.

Contact us for comprehensive assistance.

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