4 Can or must the matrimonial property regime be registered?

4.1. Do one or more matrimonial property registers exist in your country? Where?

In Germany the so-called “Register of Matrimonial Property Regimes” is run by the regional courts [i.e. of the states or ‘Länder’].

4.2. Which documents are registered? Which information is registered?

Provisions departing from the community of accrued gains as the statutory matrimonial property regime as well as the application of a foreign matrimonial property regime may be recorded in this register.

4.3. How and by whom can the information in the register be accessed?

This register is public and may be consulted by any interested party.

4.4. What are the legal effects of registration (validity, opposability)?

The validity of the marriage contract does not depend on its entry in the register. However, in order to rely on a contractually defined matrimonial property regime or a foreign matrimonial property regime vis-à-vis a third party, it is necessary, pursuant to § 1412 BGB (if applicable, in conjunction with art. 16 par. 1 EGBGB), to have the marriage contract registered with the Register of Matrimonial Property Regimes.

4.4. Can a matrimonial contract concluded in a foreign state according to foreign law be registered in your country? If yes, under which conditions or formalities?

[This information is valuable in respect of third parties, see art. 28 of the European Regulation (EU) 2016/1103 of 24 June 2016. When a matrimonial contract is registered in your country it can be invoked against third parties. An interconnection of matrimonial property registers in Europe is not existing and therefor the registration of the matrimonial contract must be undertaken in all countries separately, where the spouses have property or conclude contracts. Only then the spouses can invoke their matrimonial contract against third parties in that country.]

Under German law, a foreign statutory or contractual matrimonial property regime can be recorded in the German Register of Matrimonial Property Regimes. The spouses can only invoke their foreign matrimonial property regime vis-à-vis third parties in a legal transaction or in a legal dispute if it is registered in the German Register of Matrimonial Property Regimes or if the third party is aware of its existence, i.e. knows that a certain foreign matrimonial property regime applies. Provisions of matrimonial property law which exclude or modify the statutory matrimonial property regime, arrangements of optional matrimonial property regimes and the restriction or exclusion of the power of one spouse to represent the other with legal effect in matters relating to housekeeping can be registered. The registration is subject to application. The district court in whose district at least one of the spouses has their habitual residence is competent. If neither of the spouses has a habitual residence in Germany, registration is not possible.