We are married in community of property. Does my partner need to apply for debt counselling?

In order to understand how being married in community of property impacts whether both you and your partner need to sign up for debt counselling, you first need to understand what exactly debt counselling and debt consolidation is.

Debt counselling is considered as a legal process, which was enforced by the National Credit Act in 2007, in order to help over-indebted South African consumers repay their debt. It differs from debt consolidation, as debt consolidation is a loan which is taken out to replace smaller debts with one big amount, in order to reduce the interest rates and thus, save you money.

If you are married and you are struggling with meeting your debt repayments and keeping on top of your financial situation, your marital status will impact your steps going forward to sort out your debt problem.

Depending on whether you are married inside community of property or outside of community of property, it will determine how you will go about solving your debt.

If you are married in community of property or according to a traditional marriage, both you and your spouse have to apply for debt counselling and follow through with the process together. This is due to the fact that when married in community of property, as a couple, you are classified as one single joint estate, according to the law. Therefore, all assets and debts are considered as joint too. You both remain responsible for the repayment of the debt and you will both remain under the debt review process.

However, it is important to note that until both partners have signed the debt counselling application form, one individual spouse is not valid for the process. A partner, who does not sign the application form, cannot be included in the debt counselling process by default.

When couples get married in community of property, they are basically marrying each other’s finances. It is essential that couples speak to each other openly and honestly about their financial situation, before getting married, so that they are well aware of what exactly they are getting into.

To sum everything up, if you are married in community of property, both you and your partner need to apply for debt counselling.