More about marriage
It is a common misconception that you own things jointly during a marriage. On the contrary, each spouse is responsible for their own assets and liabilities during the marriage. Only if you divorce is what you own divided equally between you.
Possessions are often mixed together, making it difficult to determine who owns what. You can divide up your belongings through a division of property during the marriage. With a prenuptial agreement, you decide in advance what will be shared out if you divorce. It is important not to mix together things that will be included in a division of property with those that will not.
Where a divorce is imminent, the spouses can draw up a preliminary agreement for the division of property, which will become effective if it is confirmed by both spouses when the division of property is to take place. You cannot agree on a future division of property other than through a prenuptial agreement or a preliminary agreement.
Spouses can give gifts to each other but such gifts must be registered. In addition, a gift cannot be of such a size that the giver is subsequently unable to pay their debts.
Highly personal items will not normally form part of a division of property during a divorce.
If a spouse gives away property before a divorce, the other spouse may request that what has been given away be included in the division of property.
A will or a deed of gift can be made conditional so that what is given away is not to form part of a division of property in the event of divorce.
If the marriage ends, the spouses are free to agree on which property is to be divided and how it is to be shared out. If the spouses are able to reach agreement, the division of property ends with them drawing up and signing a division of property agreement.
If, as spouses, you are unable to reach agreement, each of you can turn to the district court and request the appointment of a property division executor. The district court will then appoint a lawyer who decides how the property is to be divided. You can appeal against the decision of the property division executor to the district court within four weeks of receiving the decision.
It is important to establish a division of property when you divorce. The right of a spouse to have a division of property lasts for a very long time. If there is no division of property when spouses divorce, this can have major consequences later in life.
We can help you to draw up prenuptial agreements and division of property agreements. Please contact us for help and advice on the division of property and related issues.