Author Archives: Clifton Stevens

How To Choose Your Matrimonial Regime?

To marry is not just to choose to say “yes.” It is also upstream, a lot of preparations, steps, and questions to ask. Among these questions, there is one that is essential: what matrimonial regime to choose?

Common law system, hybrid separation, universal community, participation in acquests; as many matrimonial regimes that do not have the same advantages or the same disadvantages. Decryption.

The community reduced to acquests

When no marriage contract is signed between the spouses, it is common law, called the city limited to acquests, which applies. An automatic procedure that does not require any formality.

Under this regime, spouses each retain ownership of the property (car, dwelling, furniture, etc.) they acquired before the marriage — same thing for property given or received as part of the succession, during the union.

On the other hand, all other properties acquired during the marriage belong to both spouses indistinctly. This can be beneficial to the spouse whose personal wealth is limited or nonexistent.

On the other hand, the debts are also shared. Thus, if one of the spouses comes to contract obligations, the property divided by the couple can be subject to seizure.

Moreover, in the event of the death of one of the spouses, a part of the inheritance returns to the children of the couple, which can pose problems among the reconstituted families.

Separation of property

As its name indicates, this matrimonial regime implies a legal separation between the inheritances of the spouses. This separation concerns the property acquired before the union, but also those obtained during the marriage.

The choice of this regime does not prohibit the couple from acquiring property in joint ownership. The property is the property of each spouse, in proportion to his contribution.

The main advantage of the scheme: in the case of debt incurred by one spouse, the other spouse can protect his property. A specificity highly appreciated by entrepreneurs who wish to save their spouse from creditors if their company finds itself in financial difficulty.

On the other hand, if the couple separates, everyone leaves with his personal belongings and the share of the goods bought together. If it is impossible to determine an owner or a percentage, the property is divided into two.

However, be careful to anticipate succession issues to protect the surviving spouse in the event of the death of his spouse.

The universal community

Under this regime, the assets of the spouses, whether property acquired or received before or during the marriage, are grouped to form one single common patrimony. There may, however, be clauses that make it possible to exclude specific properties from this principle of indivision.

The genuine interest of the universal community plan is to allow the surviving spouse to collect all of the couple’s property without paying estate expenses. An advantage that can nevertheless be detrimental to the children of the couple, unless there is a specific clause in the contract.

The children must wait for the death of their second parent to receive an inheritance. Also, the inheritance costs that children will have to pay, which depend on the amount of wealth they receive, are higher than in other plans.

Participation in acquests

This hybrid system works in two stages: if during the marriage, it is the principle of separation of property that applies, it is entirely different in case of dissolution of the marriage contract.

Thus, if the couple separates, the less fortunate spouse receives part of the enrichment of the other. We take the difference of each estate at the signing of the marriage contract and at the time of dissolution to estimate the net acquests generated by each. And it is their difference, called the excess of acquests, divided by two, which makes it possible to determine the amount collected by the creditor spouse.

If it is meant to be fair, the big drawback of this regime lies in the conflictual situation it can generate between the spouses during the dissolution.