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Matrimonial Regime: What is this about?

When two people get married, certain rules apply to them automatically depending on their matrimonial regime or marital property systems.These rules concern financial aspects of their relationship while they are married. The matrimonial regime helps to determine, for example, whether one spouse is allowed to sell, lease, mortgage or give away property without the other spouse’s agreement.

Matrimonial regimes are applied either by operation of law or by way of prenuptial agreement in civil-law countries, and depend on the country of residence of the spouses at the time of or immediately following the wedding.

Maltese Law caters for three matrimonial regimes regulating the property of spouses during marriage. These are Community of Acquests, Separation of Estates and Community of Residue under Separate Administration (CORSA). The default matrimonial regime in Malta is the Community of Acquests, which in a nutshell means that the assets earned after marriage and liabilities contracted during marriage belong to both spouses alike.

This regime is automatically applicable upon marriage unless excluded by the couple either before contracting marriage or afterwards by obtaining authorization from Court. If excluded, the couple can choose between the other two matrimonial regimes, that of the Separation of Estates – where the property acquired during marriage remains the property of that particular spouse who acquired it; and CORSA – where the spouses would have separate estates during marriage but upon termination of marriage, any residue will be deemed to belong to both spouses equally.

It is always best for the couple in question whether intending to marry or already married, to seek proper legal advice as to the implications of the different matrimonial regimes and which matrimonial regime would best suit their needs.

Each country has its own laws and regulations and our notary blogger will naturally write about what applies in a Maltese scenario.  Although various similarities may exist, it is always recommended that the couple seek professional help and advice when it concerns such legal aspects to make sure all their queries are answered and the correct information applicable to their respective country is given to them.

Article by Notary Dr. Josette Spiteri Cauchi.

Dr. Josette Spiteri Cauchi holds a degree of Doctor of Laws and Bachelor of Arts from the University of Malta as well as a post-graduate Masters degree in European and Comparative Law.  She has been serving the profession of a Notary Public and Commissioner for Oaths on full-time in both Malta and Gozo since 2004. 

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