Divorce: fate of donations and other advantages from spouses

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Donations between spouses (donation to the last living), manual gifts of money or changes to the matrimonial regime: what becomes of the advantages that the spouses have agreed to?


The principle of irrevocability

Divorce makes no effect on all the benefits (notarial donations, manual donations of money, not to mention changes to the matrimonial regime) which were undertaken during the marriage. In other words, these advantages are maintained despite the couple’s divorce, regardless of the potential harm of the spouses. The only exception to this principle: if the marriage contract includes a transfer contribution clause. In which case, the spouses have the right to take back the property they provided the community with, in the event of a divorce..

However, the rule of irrevocability only concerns donations carried out January 1, 2005 onward. Those made before this date remain revocable at any given time.

It should be noted: the irrevocability of the donation is of public order. Revocation cannot be foreseen, even though a clause of the donation contract.

The peculiar case of "dispositions of property upon death"

Divorce leads to the revocation of rights of matrimonial donations and advantages which are only intended to take effect, if one of the spouses were to die (for example, allocation of the community to the survivor), unless the spouse gives up on this automatic revocation.

Divorce: what happens to life insurance?

Generally, after a divorce, the underwriting spouse no longer wishes to gratify his/her ex-spouse. It is therefore important that he/she updates his/her life insurance by analyzing the beneficiary clause of the contract along with a professional, in order to modify the latter, if need be.