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Marital property agreements in France

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How to do change your marital property agreement in France?

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How to object a marital agreement change in France?

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When a change of marital agreement in France is applicable?

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Postnuptial agreement lawyer

To learn more about French marital agreements, you can get a good overview with this article which will give you the how-to, dos and donts.

Marital agreement definition

A set of financial rules and duties regarding marital life here is the definition of a marital agreement. Before getting married spouses can agree on how they want to manage financial matters within their household such as getting a pre-nuptial agreement. If the spouses do not attend a prenup agreement (for the French law), then they will automatically get involved into the universal community of assets.


Changing your marital property regarding the French law

After the wedding in France, spouses can change their marital property agreement meaning you can get a post nuptial agreement or by changing your pre-nuptial one depending on your way of living and professional circumtances.


Why changing your marital agreement?

By getting an international divorce or by buying a property, spouses are realising they are involved into a specific marital property agreement.

If you are a French expat or whether you or your partner have financial matters or roots in France we strongly advice you to get an appointment with an international family law lawyer. Our lawyers can speak both French and English.


We will offer you an in-depth appointment within 48 to 72 hours throughout a live chat video or phone, in our office or even in our metaverse offices. Follow this link to get an appointment right now.

During this appointment, our family law lawyers and mediators will get the big and the small picture as the law that can apply to your circumstances especially after a death, a divorce or a specific expat situation. If our conclusions do not suit you, we can lead you through a change of marital property agreement.

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Marital property agreements in France

Is it possible to change your marital agreement?

Yes !

The French Law of the 23rd of June 2006 regarding Legacy and donations, spouses can change their marital agreement at any time and as often they want to (article 1397 du Code civil).

Is it compulsory to get a family law lawyer to change your marital agreement?

It depends !


2 options need to be considered.

1st case scenario: third party opposition

If a third party raises an objection against the spouses to change their marital agreement, both partners must go to Courts. In that case it is compulsory to get a family law lawyer.

Courts can agree on the marital agreement changes or decline the request.


2nd case scenario: no third party opposition

If a third party does not raise any objection a family law lawyer is not compulsory to change your marital agreement circumstances.

However, we strongly advise you to arrange an appointment with a family law lawyer to get a good overview of your marital agreement and all the opportunities you can get.  

What is the cost of a change in a marital agreement?

Among lawyers and notaire fees, the cost will depend on your assets (properties, donations, legacy …) mentioned in your contract.

Regarding the French law, spouses will have to pay the following fees:

  • Proceedings and advertising fees (125 euros),
  • Notaire fees based on the assets estimation,
  • Separation arrangement fees if necessary (1.1% of the amount to share),
  • If going to Courts, Lawyer fees,
  • Changes in your circumstances, advise for debtors and children over 18
What is the difference between a French marital agreement and an english postnuptial agreement?

In France, you can get a marital agreement before or after the wedding. In England you can get a prenup or a post nuptial agreement.

The main difference is that in France when you get a postnup agreement, it is called a change in your marital regime. There is no post-nuptial agreement despite French and English postnup are both alike.

In other words, regarding the French and the English law, married couples can change the way they want to share assets and properties in case of a divorce or separation.

Regarding the English law, marital regime does not exist. In France, when coming to a divorce, the legal process will have to follow what regime the spouses chose. The English law is more flexible and equally-based.

Can a spouse with a guardianship order change his marital agreement?

Yes, under conditions!

In case of a spouse with a guardianship order or a limited court of protection relief, Courts must agree on the change in circumstances for marital agreements. (article 1397 du Code civil).

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How to change your marital agreement in France?

What are the conditions to change your marital agreement in France?

Regarding French family law, the following conditions must be applied to get a change in your marital agreement:

  • Both spouses must agree to change their marital agreement.
  • A change within your marital agreement must be taken in Children, Couple and family’s best interest.
  • A notaire can get involved in the arrangement to cancel the previous marital regime if necessary (article 1397 du Code civil). A notaire is not required when changing from a legal to a universal community of assets sregime. However a notaire is required to change from a legal community of assets regime to a separation assets’ one.
Is there a deadline to change your marital agreement in France?

Not anymore!

Since the change of legal rules from the 23rd of March 2019 article of law, it is not necessary to wait 2 years to change your marital agreement.

You can change your marital agreement right after the wedding.

In France, do I need to get a notaire to change my marital agreement?

Yes !

A change in your marital agreement circumstances is done through a notaire legal process who will be in charge to prepare the paperwork (article 1397 du Code civil).

He will advise on the new type of regime the spouses want, looking for the family’s best interest.

We strongly advise you to contact our family law firm if you want to change your type of regime or marital agreement. Opposed to the Notaire, a family law lawyer will look after your own interests not your partner’s ones. You will get a confidential appointment to make sure that the change of matrimonial agreement is in line with your own interests.

The Notaire will then contact the civil registration services where you got married to change your records following the new regime order (article 1300-2 du Code civil).

What type of paperwork do I need to change my marital agreement?

You will have to pass on the following paperwork to your Notaire to change your marital agreement:

  • French family registration book
  • Passport or proof of identity of both partners
  • Previous marital agreement (if one)
  • Proof of identity and address of each child
In France, do I need to advise third parties of a change in my marital settlement or agreement?


The following third-parties list must be advised of the change:

Regarding the French law, is it compulsory to get the marital agreement approval in the presence of minors?


However the Notaire can ask the Courts to get involved if necessary to preserve Children’s best interests. (article 387-3 du Code civil)

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How to object a marital agreement in France

Can a third-party object a change in a marital agreement?


The following third-parties list can disagree on the new marital regime:

  • Spouses’ over 18 children
  • Child with a guardianship order
  • Debtors
  • Third parties involved in the previous agreement (ie : parents or third parties who made a donation to the spouses or a specific spouse within the marital agreement).

A 3-month timeline is given to third parties in case of disagreement.

What shall I do if Courts refuse to approve?

In France, spouses can appeal as follow:

  • Judgment appeal,
  • Appeal for a review in case of fraud.


Spouses children legal actions are as follow:

  • Lodge an appeal,
  • Invalidation appeal (in case spouses have hidden their marital agreement to an under 18 years old child. The child must take legal actions within 5 years after the invalidation clause (article 2224 du Code civil).


Legal actions for spouses debtors are as follow:

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When a change in a marital property agreement is official in France?

In France, when a change in marital agreement is official?

In France, the change in a marital agreement circumstances occurs at the date the order has been set up or at the judgment date (article 1397 du Code civil).

In France, when the change in marital agreement is official for third parties?

3 months later, timeline for the civil registration services to change your records on your marital certificate (article 1397 du Code civil).

When a change in a marital agreement has to be followed even for third-parties?

As soon as spouses mention the change to third parties (article 1397 du Code civil).

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You want to learn more about postnuptial agreement?

Our family law firm based in Paris will advise you before, during or after your wedding. It is essential to see a family law lawyer before getting married.

To learn more about postnuptial agreement, please read the following articles:

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