What is a marriage contract?
A marriage contract is a document which allows future spouses to choose a specific matrimonial property regime. This document must be drawn up by a notary.
This contract allows:
- spouses to arrange their own economic and financial relations
- prove ownership of the assets
- determine how to manage the assets
Spouses are not obliged to conclude a marriage contract. In the absence of a marriage contract, the statutory regime applies automatically.
Spouses may also decide to adopt the legal regime as a general principle of marriage and to set out specific aspects in a marriage contract.
Any person who has concluded a marriage contract must inform the registrar of the Civil Registry when making a declaration of marriage. The future spouses must then submit a certificate from the notary who drew up the contract. The latter will also be mentioned in the marriage record book.
A common example
You intend to marry. Your future partner owns land on which you want to build a house together. In such cases, it is advisable to conclude a marriage contract. In this contract, you can agree that the land is to become common property.
If the land remains your partner’s property, the house you build will be your partner’s property, even if you both pay for the house.
If the land becomes common property, it will be divided between you and your partner in the event of a divorce.
It can be that your partner, who was the owner at the start, does not agree. In that case, you may include a clause in the marriage contract stating that, in the event of divorce, the value of the land shall accrue entirely to the partner who contributed it.
For more information on the marriage contract, please consult a notary.
For more information: www.notaire.be
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Updated 9 November 2020