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in France

Under French law, the treatment of spousal assets depends on whether the spouses have signed a marriage contract. Indeed, unlike in the UK, married couples in France can choose a particular matrimonial regime by entering into a marriage contract before getting married.They may also change it during the marriage.These regimes affect how property  is owned within the marriage and how it is divided in case of divorce or on death. In the absence of such contract, such matrimonial regime is determined by virtue of the law.

There are two main categories of matrimonial regimes.The separation- of-assets regime clearly distinguishes between ‘own assets’ (biens propres) and ‘common assets’ (biens communs). It is also possible for a couple to hold every asset in joint (or common) ownership. If a couple marries without concluding a formal contract, they automatically fall, by operation of law, under the regime of communauté réduite aux acquêts. Under this regime, common property is limited to the assets that have been bought, acquired and created during the marriage by one or both spouses. Such assets are deemed to belong equally to each spouse who have an equal right to administer them. After the spouses get divorced, each spouse will receive the property which belongs to them personally, plus half of the value of the community property.

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