Community of property or marriage contract? The differences at a glance

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Besides a romantic side, marriage also has a commercial side. Are you getting married in community of property or under a prenuptial agreement? What is the difference? And what should you pay attention to?

If you find out only after you get married that your new life partner has huge debts, that’s a bit of a shock. To avoid surprises, it is therefore wise to sit around the table with your future bride. In all honesty, discuss what you earn, your expenses, what you own and your debts.

“In fact, couples should discuss how they view a divorce financially before getting married,” says Lucienne van der Geld, director of Netwerk Notarissen and senior lecturer in relationship law at Radboud University. “It’s not so easy, because no one marries to divorce. But it’s important. If you have trouble talking about it together, you can go to a notary.”

After having given yourself a financial report, you will see what best suits you and your situation: getting married in community of property or under a prenuptial agreement?

What does marriage in community of property mean?

The main difference is that with prenups you make your own rules and with community of property the rules of the law are followed. This mainly concerns the rules about what you can and cannot share in terms of money and other property in the event of a divorce.

“If you are married in community of property, you each own half of all assets and debts,” says financial planner Paulien Koopman-Beerepoot.

“Prenuptial agreements can protect against debt.”

Lucienne van der Geld, Director of the Notaries Network

“Since January 1, 2018, the legal rules have changed”, knows the financial planner. “If you do not establish a prenuptial agreement, you are no longer automatically married in community of property and a “limited” community of property is created. A consequence of this is that all the property which was your property before the marriage is in outside the community of property falls and thus remains private property.

Prenuptial agreement, how does it work?

With prenuptial agreements, you set your own rules. This mainly concerns the rules about what you can and cannot share in money and other property in the event of a divorce.

For example, if you want to be sure that you will not unexpectedly meet half of your beloved model train collection on Marktplaats after the divorce, it is good to make agreements about this through prenuptial agreements . “If you’re getting married under a prenuptial agreement, you have a notarized record of who owns what assets and debts,” says Koopman-Beerepoot.

“Even if you are married in community of property, you can still have a marriage contract drawn up later. For example, if one of you sets up his own company. You then go to the notary and he draws up a so-called act of sharing.

Van der Geld adds: “Another big difference is that prenuptial agreements can offer debt protection. secured. Creditors can only appeal to the assets of the partner who contracted the debts.”

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