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Are you going to get married?

Relationships between two persons, also of the same sex, can be formalized by marriage.  The marriage must be solemnized before a civil registrar and must be entered in the civil registers.

Solemnization of the marriage has the consequence, for example, that the statutory community property regime will be created between the parties (if they do not deliberately depart from this in a marriage contract), and the spouses will become  each other’s heir (if they do not depart from this in a will).

Prenuptial agreement:

The consequences of the statutory community property regime can be excluded if the future spouses make a prenuptial agreement.  The prenuptial agreement is a contract between future spouses, in which they arrange the consequences of the marriage under property law.  The law sets the requirement of a notarial instrument for this.  The prenuptial agreement must be signed before the marriage is solemnized.

There can be several reasons for drawing up a prenuptial agreement, including:

– protection of a spouse against the business risks of the other spouse who is also an entrepreneur.  This excludes claims on the former’s private assets;
– exclusion of claims on assets or on certain items of property in the event of divorce;
– exclusion of the division of inheritances or donations.

The future spouses can choose, for example between:

– exclusion of the statutory community property regime, with a choice of setoff clauses to ease the consequences of this; or
– a limited community property regime.

It is also possible that spouses who are already married subject to making a prenuptial agreement will change it later.  Spouses who did not previously make a prenuptial agreement can still make one during the marriage, with permission from the court.

Please note: prenuptial agreements only arrange the consequences under property law during the existence of the marriage and the termination of the marriage by divorce.  To arrange the consequences (under property law) on the event of the death of one of the spouses, a will has to be made.