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?

In a marital agreement concluded before or during the marriage, spouses or betrotheds can exclude from the marital property (property covered by the marital right) any property which either of them already owns or later acquires. In the same agreement it can be stipulated that a spouse shall have a marital right to property which he/she would not have according to a marital agreement concluded earlier on (§ 41 Marriage Act). If the spouses have concluded a marital agreement which mutually excludes the marital right, after the dissolution of marriage only a separation of property takes place (see under 5.1.).

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

The marital agreement is to be made in writing. If a spouse or a betrothed is not entitled to make a marital agreement himself/herself due to legal incapacity or a restriction of legal capacity, he/she must acquire a written approval from his/her guardian for it (§ 42 Marriage Act). The spouses are to sign the marital agreement, which is to be witnessed by two disinterested persons (§ 66 Marriage Act).

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

The agreement can be concluded before marriage, but it will only take effect when it is registered with the register for matrimonial matters at the latest before the institution of divorce proceedings (§§ 43, 44 Marriage Act).

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

The spouses can conclude a new marital agreement during the marriage.