Marriage

The notary is a representative of public authority, being fully responsible for all notarial acts. If you want to have certainty, get answers to legal and tax questions pertaining to marriage and property and avoid problems in the future - you should approach a notary, who will help you not just with the prenuptial contracts, with the narrowing/widening of the marital community property stipulated by law, advise you in respect of marital community property, but you will get professional advice on issues like donations, testament, settlement of the succession or disinheritance.

 

Notarial protocol as a prenuptial agreement  

In Slovakia, we do not have the institution of a prenuptial agreement so far. This does not mean however that you could not protect your property. The same purpose can be achieved by a notarial protocol, which determines the extent of common and individual property in the form of marital community property. marital community property arises automatically with the conclusion of the marriage and it usually applies to all assets acquired by the spouses during their marriage. Exempt from this regulation are items and gifts for the personal or professional use of one of the spouses. However, the spouses can also be before the notary, to whom the items and real property shall devolve in the case of a split-up. The difference to a prenuptial agreement is that such an agreement can be drawn up only after the marriage has been concluded.

 

Change of matrimonial agreements – narrowing and widening of the marital community property

When you draw up a notarial protocol with the notary on the regulation of marital community property, you are on the safe side. For the duration of the marriage, you can change it, modify or cancel it anytime.

In practice, most often demanded is the narrowing of marital community property of spouses, especially if one of them runs a business or if buying real property for the money of (just) one of them. In such cases, the notary will draw up a notarial protocol with you, in which (based upon an agreement) certain items will be exempted from marital community property, which would be otherwise a part of it. However, the marital community property cannot be narrowed to such an extent that this community property will practically cease to exist.

On the contrary, widening the marital community property means that (based upon an agreement) even such items will become part of the marital community property, which would otherwise solely belong to one of the spouses. Those include e.g. items acquired by donation, inheritance, real property acquired in restitutions, items of personal nature or items for professional use of one of the spouses.

Another option offered by a notary office, is the reservation of the origination of marital community property for the very day the marriage ceases to exist. This means that during their marriage, he and she may acquire as well as sell property individually, without the consent of the other partner. When they divorce however, the value of their community property will be quantified as on the date the marriage ended and this resulting amount will be divided by two. This form makes sense especially with married couples being financially independent from each other or both are business people, needing that freedom in disposing of their own property. Such agreements must have the form of a notarial protocol, since they are invalid otherwise.

 

Expiry of marital community property and the settling thereof

A co-ownership of spouses expires with the death of one of them, when the marriage falls apart, but also during the marriage, if decided so by a court. There are several reasons for that, e.g. the continuing existence of marital community property would be in conflict with good manners; alcohol abuse by one of the partners or another dangerous addiction of one of the spouses; indebting or uneconomic disposal of money. Should a bankruptcy proceeding or forfeiture be imposed on the property of one of them, the other spouse may apply in court for dissolution of their marital community property. If the marital community property is dissolved during the marriage, it may be renewed by a judicial decision - based upon a request of one of the spouses. After the dissolution of the marriage, the spouses have a deadline of 3 years to divide the property. Should they fail to do so on time or should they not have agreed otherwise or file a request in court, movable items as well as real property will become divided co-ownership. Items of personal nature belonging to one of the spouses, becomes property of that spouse. Marital community property includes also debts and liabilities arisen during the marriage. Should e.g. one of the spouses have open debts, the creditors may claim their satisfaction also from the property of the other spouse.

The obligation of a notarial protocol on such agreement is very important as one can see. The existence of an agreement narrowing the marital community property in the form of a public deed (protocol) shifts the burden of proof to the subject denying the agreement's content. At the same time, such protocol prevents the spouses (one of them) to deny towards third parties that such an agreement has been concluded at all.

For the sake of your legal certainty, let a draw up such agreements. The notary, as a state entrusted person will make sure that the agreement concluded before him/her - is really impartial and that it has a high degree of legal certainty also with possible disputes in the future. The fee for drawing up a protocol is stipulated by the applicable ordinance and it is based on the price (value) of the subject of the notarial act.