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?

Spouses may choose between the statutory community of property regime, the conventional community of property regime and the separation of property regime. In a conventional community of property regime, the spouses may extend or restrict the scope of the common property, regulate the modalities of a possible future division of the common property or provide that for certain acts of administration the consent of both spouses shall be necessary. If they provide for a separation of property regime, each spouse will retain the property he/she owned before the marriage and will become the sole owner of the assets he/she individually acquires during the marriage. However, spouses may not depart from the primary regime regulated under Articles 313 to 328 of the Civil Code, irrespective of the matrimonial property regime they choose.

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

The marriage contract by which another regime than the statutory community of property regime is chosen has to be authenticated by a civil law notary, otherwise it will be subject to absolute nullity.

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

A marriage contract may be concluded before marriage, in which case it will produce its effects only as of the date the marriage is celebrated. The marriage contract may also be concluded during marriage, in which case it produces its effects as of the date of its actual conclusion (Art. 330 of the Civil Code).

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

In accordance with Article 369 of the Civil Code, if the marriage was concluded at least one year before, the spouses may replace, whenever they want, the existing matrimonial property regime with another regime or modify the existing regime, in line with the substantive and formal conditions provided by law for the conclusion of marriage contracts.