Spousal property is divided into the community (joint) and separate property. Separate property is the one that one of the spouses owns at the moment of conclusion of the marriage, as well as the property acquired during the marriage on the basis of unencumbered acquisition (e.g. through gift, inheritance…).
Community property is the property that the spouses acquired for the duration of the marriage. So, for something to be considered community property, it is necessary to be:
- Acquired through work
- Acquired during the existence of marital union
The legal presumption is that the shares of the joint spousal property are equal. However, the spouses are given the opportunity to challenge this division in a special litigation proceedings, especially if one of the spouses invested a part of their separate property or inherited or acquired money through the sale of inherited property into their community immovable property, as well as when the contribution of that spouse to the community property is more substantial. It is only when the percentage of the exact share is attributed to spouses, i.e., the share when the division occurs.
When it comes to real estate, it is often impossible to accurately divide the apartment or the house in which the spouses lived together in practice. In those cases, the following approach is used:
- Either the real estate will be sold and the money proportionally distributed to the spouses
- Or will the proportional share be determined, i.e. the share that each spouse gets, and the spouses become co-owners
Spouses can conclude an agreement on the division of community property. If they cannot agree, the court will execute the division.
Additionally, there are certain characteristics with the division of things for the personal usage of spouses, things intended for the child, the exercise of vocations or occupations, as well as the household items, which are determined upon each particular case.
Bearing in mind what we have already mentioned, i.e., that in practice, the greatest disagreements between spouses arise precisely because of the division of property, the best way to prevent such a situation and avoid the long-term processes is to conclude a (pre) nuptial agreement when the spouses were still on good terms. In this way, you regulate all possible situations in advance, so that the possibility of a dispute arising during divorce is reduced to a minimum.