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 can conclude a matrimonial property agreement which governs their property relations with respect to their existing and future property (Article 40 of the Family Act).

Spouses can define their property relations autonomously and in their best interest by stipulating which of their assets shall form part of community property and which shall be the spouses’ separate property (Article 36 of the Family Act). For certain questions, for example on the administration or division of property, the provisions of the Ownership and Other Property Rights Act have to be taken into consideration.

The Family Act does not regulate matrimonial property agreements, thus allowing any agreement that is not contradictory to the compulsory regulations. There are limitations concerning the application of foreign law because it is not permitted to stipulate the application of foreign law to the property relations in a matrimonial property agreement (Article 42 of the Family Act) if both spouses are Croatian nationals. If one spouse is a national of another country, however, the Private International Law Act is applied (see under 1.2.).

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

A matrimonial property agreement has to be concluded in written form and the signatures of the spouses have to be legalised by a civil law notary (Article 40 of the Family Act).

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

A matrimonial property agreement can be entered into before or during marriage.

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

Spouses can modify the existing matrimonial property agreement or conclude a new one at any given time if all the above-stated preconditions have been met.