September is known as the month of divorces. Spending longer hours together during summer holidays does not seem to benefit some Spanish partners who start the school year inquiring about the liquidation of the matrimonial regime.
According to a report of the judiciary, in the last 15 years the divorce rate in Spain has tripled, from almost 37,600 in 2001 to more than 114,000 in 2016. If you’ve recently divorced or you are considering it, don’t miss out this key information about the liquidation of the community property regime.
The matrimonial property regime
The legal regime governing Spanish marriages is the community property regime (unless the couple has chosen a different regime), except for Catalonia, where the usual regime is the separation of property.
Community property regime entails that all assets purchased during marriage belong to both spouses, as well as any acquired debts. The only reason why an asset would belong to just one of the spouses is receiving it by inheritance or donation.
Divorce is one of the reasons why the community property regime is dissolved, but it is not the only one:
- Dissolution of marriage (by death, divorce or declaration of death).
- Accredited separation of spouses.
- Where the marriage is declared void.
- Where the spouses agree a different property regime.
- Following dissolution, the liquidation of community property starts. It may be done by agreement or contentious.
- Liquidation of the Community Property and Inventory of Assets.
- The inventory of assets refers to all assets and liabilities (art. 1397 and 1398 of the Spanish Civil Code), and its valuation. First, debts must be paid off. Regarding taxes, if liquidation is at 50% the operation shall be exempt from taxation.
- Once settled, and whenever appropriate, assets shall be apportioned- bank accounts, real estate, land, etc. The family home shall also be apportioned, this is one of the most controversial matters.
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