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Matrimonial regime in France: Easy to change!

If you have been married for more than two years, you can change the matrimonial regime . Warning: this requirement could be removed by the draft of programming act 2018-2022 being read in the French Senate.


What are the matrimonial regime?

The matrimonial regime covers all the legal rules applicable to the inheritance of the spouses. This set of rules has a considerable influence on the way in which each spouse’s property is constituted during marriage .

As a reminder, the different matrimonial regimes are:

The joint ownership reduced to the property acquired after the marriage

If you are married after 1 February 1966, all property purchased by either party since the marriage using joint funds systematically 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 inheritance.

Read more on Marriage contrats : choose their matrimonial regime


Changing matrimonial regime: what impact for the spouses with or without child?

The essential contribution of the law of June 2006 is that couples without children or with grown-up children no longer require authorisation by the courts to change their matrimonial properties.

Change of regime matrimonial if there are no children

The spouses must apply to a notaire. Then a contract adopting a new matrimonial property merely has to be signed. Registration formalities are ensured by the notaire.

Change of regime matrimonial if there are one or more grown-up children

Two situations are possible :

  1. Either the children agree within 3 months, the changes to the matrimonial property becomes definitive.
  2. Either one or more children oppose, the Regional Court will have to approve the change to the matrimonial property.

Change of regime matrimonial if there are underage children 

The Court also has to approve the change. However, the programming act 2018-2022 plans to remove it.


How much costs a modification of matrimonial scheme?

The cost of the act depends on the terms adopted (simple clause or total changement of the regime).

Sometimes it previously should liquidate the prior marriage before proceeding to the adoption of the new matrimonial regime . 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 variable according to the composition and the value of the couple's patrimony.

Finally, if the approve of the judge is required, there must also be attorneys' fees (attorney's presence is compulsory for any procedure to the Court).

Frequently asked questions