4 Can or must the matrimonial property regime be registered?

The matrimonial property regime and any changes/modifications to it must be registered in order to be effective against third parties.

4.1. Do one or more matrimonial property registers exist in your country? Where?

In Spain, there are several civil registers. Both the marriage and any marriage contract  should be registered in the civil register in the place of habitual residence of the spouses (Art. 1333 CC, Art. 69 LRC and Art. 70 LRC). Only the registration of the marriage is mandatory (Art. 71 LRC).

4.2. Which documents are registered? Which information is registered?

Marriage contracts concluded before marriage must be registered, as well as those concluded during the marriage if they change the matrimonial property system (or they will not be effective against third parties), and separation and divorce judgements must also be registered (Art. 77 LRC). The interested parties receive a certificate issued by the civil register as proof of registration (Art. 75 LRC). Another document used in practice is the Libro de Familia (‘Family Book’), which records details of marriages, children’s birthdates, etc.

4.3. How and by whom can the information in the register be accessed?

The registered information is public (Art. 6 LRC), but the protected data is only accessible to the interested parties or their heirs (Data Protection Act 15/1999).

4.4. What are the legal effects of registration (validity, opposability)?

The legal consequence of registration is third-party effectiveness (Art. 70 LRC).