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Prenuptial agreement or marital property agreement


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Purposes of a prenuptial agreement

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Type of prenuptial agreements in France

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Prenuptial agreement modification after marriage

PacisLexis Family Law

Prenuptial agreement lawyer

To learn more about prenuptial agreement, you can get a good overview by reading this article.

Regarding French Law, prenuptial or marital property agreement is a legal document drawn up between a couple before their marriage to manage their assets and the type of marital regime they want.

This is sometimes difficult to understand as even if prenuptial agreements are a common thing in other countries, choosing the right type of regime does not exist in the Common Law.

It’s when getting an international divorce that spouses finally understand what type of regime they have, leading to disputes. This is also true when expats are not aware of their marital regime, rights and duties and the law does not correspond to their culture.

If you are a French expat or you have assets as your partner in France or whatever your citizenship is, we advise you to get a bilingual international family law lawyer.

During an in-depth appointment, our highly experienced family lawyers will draft an effective prenuptial agreement, tailor it to meet individual requirements and will explain in details what is getting a prenuptial agreement or not. We will help you understand how your legal agreement can be used or transformed to meet French or international requirements.

We will also answer to some very common questions for married expat couples or married couples with different citizenship such as:

  • How my prenuptial agreement can meet legal requirements in France?
  • Why and when can I get a marital property agreement in France?
  • How can I get a validation of my legal agreement abroad?
  • Can I get a compensation or maintenance whereas I have a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement?


Within 48 hours we will arrange an appointment in our Paris office, an online appointment or in our virtual offices in the metaverse.

Prenuptial agreement lawyer

Purposes of a prenuptial agreement

What is a prenuptial or marital property agreement?

Regarding French laws, a prenuptial agreement is a legal document drawn up between a couple before their marriage to outline how each of their assets will be divided between them or what type of marital regime they want to choose.

Marital property agreement is not compulsory but we advise to get one especially when spouses are going abroad or they want to come back in their country of birth.

When can I get a marital property agreement?

Regarding the French law, you can get a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement.

Prenuptial means before the wedding, postnuptial after the wedding!

In France, who is making a marital property agreement?

In France, it has to be prepared by a Noatary otherwise it will be cancelled. Opposed to other countries, prenuptial agreement are prepared by a qualified family law lawyer before going to Courts.

When the agreement is done, before the wedding, the Notaire will provide both partners a certificate to be filed to their civil registration officer before the event.

In case of a British, US and French spouses both partners should look for advice with family law lawyers.

In France, do I need a lawyer to get a marital property agreement?


Whereas in the UK you have to get it drawn up by a family law lawyer, it’s not compulsory in France.

However we strongly advise you to get an appointment with a lawyer who will assist you regarding financial matters as answering questions in case of a divorce. Both must seek independent legal advice.

A French Notaire doesn’t have the ability to protect YOUR assets and properties as has the lawyer.

In the UK both partners must seek for independent legal advice and solicitors to get a marital property agreement as it has to be considered by the Court.

When is the marital property agreement legally registered?

In France, marital property agreements are legally registered once the wedding is done by the civil registration officer right away after the event.

If the ceremony is cancelled, then your agreement is cancelled too.

What will a prenuptial agreement cost in France?

The cost will depend on your assets such as properties, inheritance, trust funds listed in that agreement.

Both partners have to pay for legal registration costs, the Notaire and advertisement dissolution fees.

Prenuptial agreement lawyer

Type of marital regime in France

What is a marital regime?

The regime depends on how spouses want to organise their assets and financial matters.

In France are spouses submitted to a marital regime?


Whether spouses did get a prenuptial agreement or not, they both have to choose a marital regime. In the UK this is completely different.

In France regarding the law, when spouses do not get a marital property regime, they are common-law partners.

When spouses do get a marital regime, they have to choose between:

– ‘All assets and properties division’ based-contract

– Universal community of assets. All assets owned by the spouses on the day of marriage and after, as well as the assets and estates, inheritance and gifts are shared.

– The legal community of assets settlement. All the assets they get during the marriage will be considered as shared. Any assets acquired by a spouse before the marriage remains his or her own.

In France whatever your marital agreement is, do common rules exist?


In France, when 2 people are getting married, they will obey to some rules such as:

– Each partner has to pay for household bills and children’s care (scholarship fees, hobbies, food, rent….) regarding their income (article 214 du Code civil),

– Paying for household debts and children’s care. A debtor could ask both partners to clear off the debts.

– Each partner can decide about household bills and children’s care. A pouse doesn’t have to seek for the other spouse’s consent ie. scholarship subscription, purchase of a hoover…

– Each spouse can decide to sign up for a contract (article 222 du Code civil). A spouse can decide to sell the family car without the other spouse’s consent or agreement. However the other spouse can cancel the sale in case of disagrement if he/she advised the seller and asks his/her spouse to get a compensation. Please note that furniture are excluded from this and a spouse can not sell the coffee table,

– Each spouse can open a private bank account (article 221 du Code civil),

– Each spouse can manage his/her own assets (article 225 du Code civil),

– Each spouse can get a job (article 223 du Code civil),

– The family estate is a shared-decision (article 215 du Code civil).

What is the universal community of assets regime?

All the assets acquired during the marriage will be considered as shared. Any assets acquired by a spouse before the marriage remains his or her own.

Therefore, 3 aspects have to be considered:

– 1st spouse assets and estates (assets before the marriage, inheritance before or after the marriage, clothes, stock market shares, estates, properties…)

– 2nd spouse assets and estates (assets before the marriage, inheritance before or after the marriage, clothes, stock market shares, estates, properties…)

– Assets and estates acquired during the marriage.


Assets are divided as such:

– Professional incomes

– Estate incomes ie. before the marriage one of the spouses bought a flat or a property, all rent payment incomes are shared,

– All assets acquired during the marriage with both partners money,

– Assets acquired by one of the pouse and bought with both partners money.

Within the legal community of assets regime, assets and estate acquired during marriage are shared unless one of the spouses shows evidence of ownership.

All debts contracted before the marriage will remain their own if that the case (article 1410 du Code civil).

All debts contracted during the marriage are shared (article 1409 du Code civil).

What is the separation assets regime?

All assets owned by the spouses on the day of marriage, as well as the assets they had before the marriage by way of inheritance or gift during the marriage, remain their own assets and property.

However the pouses can decide on a joint ownership business to purchase estates together (as the marital home).

In France, you can set up a conventional or legal assets settlement.

Also in France, a separation assets settlement is set-up when:

– In case of a no-fault divorce (article 302 du Code civil). If the spouses are getting back together, the former agreement will be cancelled.

– In case all spouses assets and estates are shared but one of the spouse puts the family in a serious danger (article 1443 du Code civil). The agreement is settled by the spouse after going to Courts (article 1292 du Code de procédure civile). This particular request has to be registered in your civil records next to both partners’ date of birth. The family law Court will only make a decision a month later previous to your civil registration changes (article 1293 du Code de procédure civile).

What is the legal community of assets regime?

2 main differences to be considered:

– During the marriage, the separation assets regime rules.

– When spouses ask for the marriage dissolution, the common-law applies.

In other words, assets of both partners before and during the marriage will be calculated. A compensation is then settled showing the big picture before and after the marriage. This difference is called the legal community.


Prenuptial agreement lawyer

Type of marital property regime in France:… Next

Can the spouses create their own marital property regime?


As it’s a free based- contract, spouses can create their own.

However, they can’t include:

  • Child custody
  • Child support
  • Illegal or unfair matters
  • Cohabitation
  • Personal matters
  • Lifestyle matters
  • Adultary
If spouses do not get any prenuptial or postnuptial agreement what will be their marital regime

When spouses do not have any agreement, the legal community of assets regime is applicable.

What Prenuptial agreement clauses can the spouses usually include?

– Legal settlement regarding their marital agreement (UE rules n° 2016/103 du 24 juin 2016),

– Compensation refund clause: one spouse can get shared assets to make its own but will have to refund it in case of a divorce (article 1511 du Code civil),

– Unfair shared assets clause: if the spouses are getting a divorce, a spouse could get less than the other (article 1521 du Code civil),

– Death and inheritance clause: Following one of the spouse’s death all assets and estates go to the other spouse (article 1524 du Code civil),

– No compensation clause: following one of the spouse’s death, the other spouse could get one or several shared assets or estates leading to no-compensation damages (article 1515 du Code civil),

– Alsatian clause: all private assets and properties will remain as private (article 265 du Code civil),

– Business interests clause: A spouse will get all assets and properties if the other dies.

what are the advantages and disavantages between all of these settlements?
Legal community regime
Universal community regime
Assets and property separation regime
Shared assets in case of a divorce regime
This regime is more likely to suit partners without private assets and properties.
Savings: No need to see a Notaire to make a marital property agreement
In case of one partner's death, the other partner is keeping half of all assets free of tax.
This regime is more likely to suit partners without or with children together as all assets and properties go to the other partner if one dies.
All assets are shared so financial matters dispute are limited.
This regime is more likely to suit partners with businesses or with children from a previous marriage.
A partner is protected from the other one debts and debtors.
Ease the inheritance process with a child from a previous marriage.
Both partners are free to use assets when they want to, so disputes are limited.
This regime is more likely to suit partners with high-risk businesses.
If one partner gets assets and properties, the other one takes advantage of it.
Before or during the marriage's inheritance is still both private assets and properties.
Only in very rare occasions, all assets and properties from the marriage can go to debtors.
All shared assets management have to get both partners' agreement.
If one partner dies, the other one will get half of the shared assets free of tax.
If one partner dies, the other gets all assets and properties so a disadvantage for the children.
Taxes on inheritance will be higher as it will be calculated on all assets and properties.
All assets and properties can be claimed by debtors.
If a partner doesn't have any income, he/she can't claim for the other partner assets. In case of a divorce this partner can get nothing at all.
If a partner dies with no will, the other one will only get 1/4 of all the assets.
Listing all the assets following a divorce can be tricky. The partner with more assets and incomes will face a very high loss.

Prenuptial agreement lawyer

Type of marital regime in France:… Next

I am owning a business, what type of regime is the best for me?

If you own a business and live in France, assets separation regime is the best option. In case you want to live abroad, better to check if this is applicable.

The community regime seems not to be appropriate as in case of bankruptcy, debtors can get both partners shared and private assets putting your family in a serious danger.

What type of regime is the best if I've got more assets than my partner?

It depends on your mindset regarding family.

If you are getting married to share everything, then the Community regime is the best option. However, separation assets regime has to be considered if you want to protect inherited money, assets or savings you got during your marriage.

What type of regime is the best if I am a sole trader?

If you are a sole trader, separation assets regime would be the best option.

Your family will be protected as your shared assets from debtors.

What type of regime is the best if I bought a property and pay a mortgage

Separation assets regime is surely the best option.

Indeed, if you are getting a community-based regime and share all assets and properties, the mortgage will be paid by both partners. In case of a divorce, compensation from the owner of this property can be claimed by the other partner.

Choosing the community regime can be tricky.

On the other hand, choosing separation assets regime is easier for the landlord who will be the only one to pay the mortgage.

What type of regime is the best if I am not working?

The Community regime seems to be the best option. In case of a divorce, if one partner doesn’t have any incomes, he/she will get half of the other partner ones.

What type of regime is the best when married for a long time and growing old?

Universal community regime seems to be the best option. It will makes things easier as inheritance in case one partner dies.

When the marital regime gets cancelled?

In France, marital regimes is cancelled when:

– One partner dies

– One partner is missing (article 128 du Code civil),

– Divorce

– Change of marital property regime (article 1397 du Code civil).

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You want to learn more about prenuptial agreement?

Whether you are an international couple with assets in France or want to know what could be the best options for you, our international family law lawyers will help you out regarding your situation.

We will offer you an appointment for you to learn more about your rights and how to face financial disputes in case of a separation or divorce.

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