MANY expatriates living in Spain (and even Spaniards themselves) often ignore or don’t understand the matrimonial property or economic regime that applies to their marriage, and their rights in relation to the property in the marriage.
In order to understand the rights that spouses have in relation to the property (both movable and fixed) within the marriage, as well as those acquired before the marriage, or indeed the liability for debts of the spouse, it is essential to know your matrimonial property or economic regime.
In this regard, the European Regulation 2016/1103 on enhanced cooperation in the area of jurisdiction, applicable law, recognition and enforcement of decisions in matters of matrimonial property regimes, which came into force (entirely on January 29, 2019), is essential.
According to this Regulation, (as is the case of the Regulation 650/2012 for Successions), the applicable law to the matrimonial economic property regime will be determined.
This is really important, as some laws state that properties, income etc. acquired during the marriage, regardless of who received them, belong to both spouses (community or goods property regime), while the laws of other countries understand that each spouse is owner privately and excluding the other, of the assets obtained or generated during the marriage (property separation regime).
Note that this Regulation 2016/1103 is recognised in Spain, and applies to all people in Spain even if their countries have not signed the Regulation (universal application) and also to all goods (movable and fixed) regardless of where they are located.
It is important to note the affect that it can have for expatriates living in Spain, as its article 22, which allows spouses to designate or change by common agreement the law applicable to their matrimonial property or economic regime, which may be the law of the country where they have their habitual residence or the one of their nationality.
Thus, if you are an expatriate living in Spain, you can clearly regulate your rights over the assets of marriage, present and future, designating which is or will be the law applicable to your marital economic regime.
This therefore will allow you to clearly understand in advance your rights in the event of a divorce and whether the assets will be considered common or not.
To achieve this, it is essential to do so in a proper legal manner via a Pre or Post Nuptial Agreement or Matrimonial Property Agreement.
Also if you are married and think that it is possible that in the future you may be facing a divorce, it is essential to obtain legal advice from an expert lawyer, to determine what law will be applicable to your matrimonial economic regime, and to know your rights, and options.
The law applicable to the matrimonial property regime is fundamental because, not only does it determine whether the assets belong to both spouses or to one, it also clarifies the responsibility of the spouses for the debts of the other spouse as well as the possibility of selling assets by only one of the spouses, etc.
If you want expert advice on this matters of family and international law, Contact Us
The information provided in this article is not intended to be legal advice, it simply transmits information related to legal issues.
Carlos Baos (Lawyer)
White & Baos
Tel: +34 966 426 185
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