2 Is there a statutory matrimonial property regime and if so, what does it provide?
2.1. Please describe the general principles: Which goods are part of community property? Which goods are part of the separate estates of the spouses?
The principle of community of property does not apply under Irish law and property held by each of the spouses prior to the marriage or acquired by one spouse in the course of the marriage remains the property of that spouse. Whilst there is no automatic entitlement to a share in the property of the other spouse, upon separation and/or divorce the non-owning spouse can claim an entitlement in some or all of property held legally by the other spouse on the basis that such a claim is made in the interests of justice (section 16(5) Family Law Act 1995 and section 20(5) Family Law (Divorce) Act 1996), in light of the circumstances of the marriage and the impact of the separation/divorce order (section 16(2)(a)-(l) Family Law Act 1995 and section 20(2)(a)-(l) Family Law (Divorce) Act 1996).
2.2. Are there legal assumptions concerning the attribution of property?
There are no such legal assumptions.
2.3. Should the spouses establish an inventory of assets? If so, when and how?
The spouses are not legally obliged to establish an inventory of assets upon marriage. However upon application for an order of judicial separation or divorce with associated ancillary relief, both parties are required to file an affidavit of means, outlining details of their assets, income, liabilities, debts and pension holdings (see Order 59, rule 4 Circuit Court Rules 2001 and Order 70A of the Rules of the Superior Courts 1997).
2.4. Who is in charge of the administration of the property? Who is entitled to dispose of the property? May one spouse dispose of/administer the property alone or is the consent of the other spouse necessary (e.g. in cases of disposal of the spouses’ home)? What effect does the missing consent have on the validity of a legal transaction and on opposability towards a third party?
In the course of a valid subsisting marriage, each spouse is in charge of the administration of his/her property and does not typically require the consent of the other spouse for the administration or disposal of that property. The family home of the parties, as defined by section 2(1) Family Home Protection Act 1976, as amended by section 54(1) of the Family Law Act 1995, receives special protection under Irish law. Even where the family home is held in the sole name of one of the spouses, the spouse with legal ownership is not permitted to convey the family home or otherwise secure a charge on the family home without the written consent of the non-owning spouse (section 3(1) Family Home Protection Act 1976). Where such a conveyance occurs without the consent of the other spouse, the purported conveyance shall be void (section 3(1) Family Home Protection Act 1976). However no conveyance shall be void by reason only of this consent requirement where the conveyance is made to a purchaser for full value without notice (section 3(3)(a) Family Home Protection Act 1976).
2.5. Are any legal transactions made by one spouse also binding on the other?
There are no such transactions.
2.6. Who is liable for debts incurred during the marriage? Which property may be used by creditors to satisfy their claims?
Each spouse is responsible for their own debts incurred in the course of the marriage, unless agreements provide otherwise.
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Couples in Ireland
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