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How to change your matrimonial regime?

Verified 05 March 2020 - Directorate of Legal and Administrative Information (Prime Minister), Ministry of Justice

The spouses must apply to a notary and, in some cases, have the new matrimonial regime approved by a judge. They must inform their adult child(s) and their creditors the proposed changes. This change entails a change in the marginal mention of the marriage certificate of the spouses. Between spouses, the new agreement takes effect on the date of the notarial act or judgment.

The following 2 conditions are necessary to change or change the matrimonial regime entirely:

  • Spouses must act in the interest of the family (the change must not entail additional succession costs for heirs, for example)
  • Both spouses must consent to the amendment.

Spouses go first to a notary and then, in some cases, they have to certify the new matrimonial regime by a judge.

Before the notary

The spouses first address a notary.

If the conditions are met, the new matrimonial agreement will be established in the form of of an authentic act by the notary.

Challenges of the adult children of spouses and creditors must be sent to the notary who will draw up the deed. The notary informs the spouses of these oppositions.

Please note

the cost of changing the plan varies. It depends in particular on the emolument proportional of the notary calculated on the value of the goods.

If one of the spouses is under a trusteeship or guardianship, the change or modification of the matrimonial regime is subject to the prior authorization of the judge or the family council.

Who shall I contact

Before the judge

The new agreement will have to be approved by the family court judge of the family’s place of residence if certain persons object.

Where either spouse has minor children, the notary may refer the minor's guardianship to the judge if he considers that the change in matrimonial regime is prejudicial to the children.

The assistance of a lawyer is required in order to have the new matrimonial agreement approved by the judge.

The lawyer then submits a petition to the court on behalf of the two spouses, to which is attached a copy of the notarial act.

To approve the new regime, the judge must assess 

  • whether change is in the family interest 
  • and that the change is not intended to harm creditors.

It may seek the views of children but is not bound by those views. He can also do any useful investigations.

On the day of the hearing, and in the presence of the spouses, the judge must verify that the spouses have consented to the modification or change of their matrimonial regime.

Amendment of marriage certificate

Whether the change of matrimonial regime by notarial act has taken place with or without the approval of the judge, the marriage certificate must be amended.

The marginal mention from marriage certificate spouses must show the change in matrimonial regime.

The notary will mention this change on the minute of the amended marriage contract.

Children of spouses

The adult children of each spouse must be personally informed of the proposed change. Once informed, they can oppose the modification of the matrimonial regime within 3 months. This period shall begin to run from the time when the parents have provided the information.

In the case of children under guardianship or children under age who are subject to a legal protection measure, the information shall be provided to their representative.

Where either spouse has minor children, the notary may refer the minor's guardianship to the judge if he considers that the change in matrimonial regime is prejudicial to the children.

The opposition of the children of age must be made by registered letter with request for a notice of receipt (RAR) or by a bailiff's act addressed to the notary in charge of the modification.

The absence of opposition within 3 months, by sending an RAR letter, is tantamount to a tacit acceptance of children of full age.

Letter of information issued to the children of spouses in the context of a procedure of change of matrimonial regime

Who shall I contact

Creditors

The creditor is informed of the proposed change by publishing a notice in a journal entitled to receive legal notices.. This information is published in the district or the home department of the spouses. The creditor may oppose the modification within 3 months of publication.

Model notice published for third parties in a newspaper entitled to receive legal notices in the district or department of the spouse's home

Fees depend on the size and nature of the movable or immovable property mentioned in the contract.

In all cases, the spouses must pay the following costs:

  • Advertising and procedural costs
  • Notary's emoluments
  • Termination of matrimonial property regime
  • Lawyer fees for court registration.

Information fees for creditors and adult children are also mandatory.

Husband

For the spouses, the new agreement takes effect on the date of the notarial act or judgment.

Third

In respect of third parties, the new agreement shall take effect 3 months after the date of entry in the margin of the marriage document. In the absence of such a statement, the change is opponent to third parties if the spouses have declared that they have changed their matrimonial property regime (for example, by publishing a notice in a newspaper entitled to receive legal notices).