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 statutory matrimonial property regime is the community of property regime, also referred to as community of acquisitions (Article 1400 CC). This regime distinguishes between the common property and the separate property of each of the spouses.

Common property comprises the acquisitions, i.e. assets resulting from the spouses' professional earnings, the fruits and income of their own personal assets and assets acquired against payment by each of the spouses during the marriage (Article 1401 CC).

Separate property comprises assets already owned by one of the spouses on the day the marriage is celebrated, assets acquired by one of the spouses during the marriage as an inheritance or gift (Article 1405 CC), and assets of a personal nature acquired during the marriage and considered to be the separate property of one of the spouses (Article 1404 CC).

2.2. Are there legal assumptions concerning the attribution of property?

Pursuant to Article 1402 of the Civil Code, any property, movable or immovable, is deemed to be common property unless it is proven to be the separate property of one of the spouses in accordance with a provision of law.

In accordance with Article 1421-1, paragraph 4 of the Civil Code, common property which neither spouse can prove to have acquired individually during the marriage is deemed to have been acquired by both spouses.

2.3. Should the spouses establish an inventory of assets? If so, when and how?

There are no provisions providing for the drawing up of an inventory. However, in order to avoid future disputes, it may be advisable to draw up a notarised inventory.

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?

Each spouse may administer, enjoy and dispose of his or her separate property (Article 1428 CC), subject to the restriction under Article 215 of the Civil Code which provides that the spouses may not separately dispose of the rights whereby the lodging of the family is ensured, or of the pieces of furniture pertaining thereto. Each spouse alone administers and disposes freely of the property that has been brought into community property on his or her own initiative. (Article 1421 CC).

A spouse may not dispose of the property acquired by both spouses during the marriage without the consent of the other (Article 1421-1 CC).

Where one of the spouses proceeds alone with the administration, enjoyment or disposal of a movable asset which he or she holds individually, he or she is considered, with regard to third parties acting in good faith, to have the power to perform that transaction alone. This provision does not apply to transactions effected free of charge. This provision also does not apply to pieces of furniture referred to in Article 215, paragraph 2 of the Civil Code, or to movable tangible property which by its nature gives rise to a presumption of ownership of the other spouse due to its personal nature (Article 222 CC).

Each spouse is accountable for any faults committed in his or her management (Article 1421-1, paragraph 3 CC). The civil liability legal regime will apply. In the event of fraud or misuse of powers, an application may be made to cancel a transaction performed by one spouse in respect of an item of common property. The cancellation application may be made by the other spouse within two years from the day when he/she became aware of the transaction, but never more than two years after the dissolution of the community (Article 1427 CC).

2.5. Are any legal transactions made by one spouse also binding on the other?

Each spouse may individually enter into contracts regarding the upkeep of the household or the raising of children. Any debt thus incurred by one spouse is jointly and severally binding on the other. Joint and several obligations do not arise in the event of expenditure that is manifestly excessive with regard to the lifestyle of the household, to the usefulness or futility of the transaction, or to the good or bad faith of the contracting third party. Nor do they arise for obligations resulting from instalment purchases where these were not entered into with the consent of both spouses (Article 220 CC).

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 held liable for his or her personal debts (Article 1410 CC).

For personal debts, creditors have the right to instigate proceedings on the separate property of the spouse who incurred the debt and on property acquired individually by him/her during the marriage (Articles 1411 to 1413 CC).

For debts incurred individually by just one of the spouses, creditors may seize all common property and the separate property of the spouse who incurred the debt. In principle, they may not seize the separate property of the spouse who did not incur the debt, unless such debt was incurred personally, jointly or severally by both spouses, or if the spouse who did not incur the debt acted as guarantor (Articles 1412 to 1414 CC).