3 How can the spouses arrange their property regime?

3.1. Which provisions can be modified by a contract and which cannot? Which matrimonial property regimes may be chosen?

By concluding a marriage contract, the spouses can stipulate:

  1. a) a universal community of property, although this cannot be chosen when either one or both spouses already have children who do not belong to both spouses. Under this property regime, all present and future property belonging to the spouses forms part of the community property, except for property excluded by law (Art. 1732 CC). For example, property gifted or bequeathed, if it is stipulated to be excluded from the community property, personal rights and family mementos of low financial worth are excluded from the community property (Art. 1733 CC).
  2. b) a separation of property, which is mandatory when the marriage was entered into without completing the preliminary marriage procedures or when either one or both of the spouses are aged 60 years or older. Under this regime, each spouse retains control over and entitlement to all of his/her present and future property, which he/she may freely dispose of (Art. 1735 CC).
  3. c) an atypical regime, meaning that the spouses may select a regime that has characteristics of two or even three of the matrimonial property regimes.

3.2. What are the formal requirements and who should I contact?

A marriage contract has to take the form of either an authentic instrument drawn up by a civil law notary or a document drawn up in any Civil Registry office.

3.3. When may the contract be concluded and when does it come into effect?

A marriage contract has to be concluded prior to the marriage and will enter into effect immediately after the marriage has taken place. The matrimonial property regime cannot be changed after the celebration of the marriage.

3.4. May an existing contract be modified by the spouses? If so, under what conditions?

No, an existing contract may not be amended by the spouses.