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Prenuptial agreement in France: Easy to change!

Since 1 January 2007, the french law deeply reformed the process of modification of matrimonial scheme. If you get married since 2 years, you can change of matrimonial scheme more easily and cheaper.

What are the different matrimonial schemes?

The matrimonial regime covers all the legal regulations governing financial relations between husband and wife. This set of rules has a considerable influence on the way in which each spouse’s property is constituted during marriage .

The joint ownership reduced to the property acquired after the marriage

For example, if you were married after 1 February 1966, your current matrimonial regime is the joint ownership reduced to the property acquired after the marriage. All property purchased by either party since the marriage using joint funds automatically belongs to both spouses. But all property received as a gift or inheritance by one of the spouses remains his/her property and is not included in the joint estate.

The universal community of assets

The universal community of assets may include virtually all the assets.

The separation of property

Each spouse retains his/her own property. A spouse who makes a purchase becomes the sole owner of the said purchase. This is the essential aspect of the matrimonial property.

Read more on Marriage contrats : choose their matrimonial regime

What effets for the spouses with or without child?

The essential contribution of the new law is that couples without children or with grown-up children no longer require authorisation by the courts to change their matrimonial properties (and without opposition of creditors informed of the change).

If there are no children

A contract adopting a new matrimonial property merely has to be signed at the notaire’s office.

If there are one or more grown-up children

There are two possible situations depending on whether they agree or not to the changes their parents wish to make.

  1. If the child or children agree, the instrument making the changes to the matrimonial property merely has to be signed at the notaire’s office.
  2. If, on the other hand, one or more children oppose, as in the past, the Regional Court where the parents are domiciled has to approve the change to the matrimonial property. The judge makes an approval decision if it considers the change in line with the interest of the family.

If there are underage children

the Court also has to approve the change.

How much costs a modification of matrimonial scheme?

The cost of the act depends on the terms adopted. In some cases, it is the adaptation of the regime without immediate consequence on the content of heritage, such as, for example, the adoption of a clause providing for the allocation of the property or an insurance contract life to the surviving spouse.

Sometimes it previously should liquidate the prior marriage . This is the case for example if the spouses spend a regime of legal community of acquisitions to a regime of separation of property. Consequently, the cost will be much greater and variable according to the value of the couple's patrimony.

Finally, if the certification of the judge is required, there must also be attorneys' fees (mandatory before the TGI).