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The regime of community of acquisitions- Le régime de la communauté d’acquêts

This is the regime that spouses automatically acquire when they marry in France if they have not signed a marriage contract.

Each spouse keeps as personal property:

The regime of the community includes property purchased during the marriage as well as income (including income from own property, for example rent from accommodation purchased before the marriage).

Both spouses are responsible for the debts incurred by them, debts incurred for the education of children or the maintenance of the household. Each spouse has the power to administer the common property alone. However, a spouse cannot make a donation of community property without the consent of his or her spouse. 

This regime allows spouses to build joint assets of which the surviving spouse will receive half at the time of death.

COMMUNITY REGIME FOR FURNITURE AND ACQUISITIONS

Each spouse keeps as personal property:

the buildings he owned before his marriage;

those which are given to him or which he inherits during his marriage.

Both spouses can decide to manage the property together (in this case the signature of both spouses is essential for each decision).

PROPERTY SEPARATION REGIME

Each spouse remains independent from a legal and financial point of view. No community exists between them.

Each spouse does what they want with their property alone (management, sale, etc.) and is responsible for their own debts. Interesting regime for self-employed workers because it protects the spouse’s assets from being also liable in case of a bankruptcy.

This regime, generally resulting from a marriage contract, can also result from a decision ordered by the judge following a legal separation.

UNIVERSAL COMMUNITY REGIME

The spouses agree that all their property, whatever its nature, wherever it comes from, is common, including debts during the duration of the marriage.

The spouses no longer have any personal property except property of a marked personal nature (clothing for example), damages received in compensation for personal injury, donations or legacies received by one of the spouses when The deed of gift or the will provides that they cannot become common.

Most of the time, couples add a clause of full attribution to the last living person.

The objective is that upon the death of one spouse, the entire assets of the couple (including common property) become the property of the other without opening an inheritance. In the absence of this clause, the surviving spouse only has rights to half of the common property.

With the abolition of inheritance taxes between spouses, this regime has lost much of its interest. It also presents disadvantages for the couple’s children: they do not inherit from the first parent who dies and thus lose the benefit of a tax deduction for the calculation of inheritance tax. Finally, it is not recommended in the presence of children born from a first union, who can take legal action to recover the share of inheritance that should go to them.

Whatever the matrimonial regime adopted by the spouses, the following French legal principles will apply:

Each of the spouses has the power to enter into contracts alone which have as their object the maintenance of the household or the education of the children: any debt thus contracted by one also binds the other, unless it is manifestly excessive. 

Each spouse may have a deposit account opened without the consent of the other spouse, and any securities account in their personal name. He can freely dispose of these funds and these securities as well as what remains of their salary, once their contribution to the household expenses have been paid.

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