3 How can the spouses arrange their property regime?

3.1. Which provisions can be modified by a contract and which cannot? Which matrimonial property regimes may be chosen?

The spouses may modify their property relations by concluding a marriage contract (Art. 37 FC). The marriage contract shall only contain provisions on the spouses' property relations. Amongst others, the spouses can determine which property shall be part of the community property and who shall be entitled to manage or dispose of the community property. The spouses may also stipulate a separation of property. Under the separation of property regime, the assets acquired during marriage by each spouse are part of his/her personal property (Art. 33 FC). There is no community property, but only personal property of the spouses.

For matters which have not been regulated in the contract, the provisions of the statutory regime of community of property apply (Art. 38 FC).

3.2. What are the formal requirements and who should I contact?

The marriage contract has to be drawn up in writing and must be concluded personally by the parties with legalization of the signatures and authentication of the contents (Art. 39 para. 1 FC).

When property rights over immovable property are established or transferred through the marriage contract, the civil law notary in whose region the property is located is competent (Art. 39 para. 2 FC).

3.3. When may the contract be concluded and when does it come into effect?

A marriage contract can be signed by the parties also during marriage (Art. 37 para. 3 FC). If it is concluded before marriage, it takes effect from the date of conclusion of the marriage. If it is contracted during the marriage, it will become effective on the date of its conclusion or on another date specified therein (Art. 40 para. 1 FC).

3.4. May an existing contract be modified by the spouses? If so, under what conditions?

The marriage contract also may be amended. The form in which the amendment shall be made is the same as the one in which the contract was concluded (Art. 41 para. 1 FC).