Prenuptial agreement

What does a marriage contract regulate and when does it make sense?

Separation of property

Without a prenuptial agreement, the matrimonial property regime of the community of gains automatically applies and, in the event of divorce, the assets gained during the marriage are divided equally. You can choose the matrimonial property regime yourself by means of a prenuptial agreement.

If no equalisation of gains is to be paid in the event of divorce, the separation of property must be agreed in the marriage contract. In this way, the assets of the spouses remain separate. However, the inheritance quota of the spouse then also changes.

In this case, it is also possible to agree on the so-called modified community of gains, in which a separation of property is only agreed for the case of divorce, but not for the case of death.

Maintenance & differing financial circumstances

A marriage contract can also contain provisions on the equalisation of pensions. Furthermore, a contract may amend, extend or exclude the statutory provisions on spousal alimony. Separation maintenance, however, cannot be changed at will or even excluded.

A waiver of post-marital maintenance can be agreed if both spouses have sufficient income of their own or are otherwise provided for.

A marriage contract also makes sense if the financial circumstances of the two spouses are very different. Through the prenuptial agreement, the spouses can protect their own assets from unreasonable maintenance and pension claims.

A marriage contract can also contain provisions on the equalisation of pensions.

For entrepreneurs, a prenuptial agreement is also highly recommended in order not to jeopardise the existence of the business in the event of divorce. Compensation for the spouse can then be agreed in a different way.

Prenuptial agreements for international marriages

If both spouses have different nationalities, the law of the place of residence applies. However, some states - such as the USA - always apply their laws, regardless of the nationality of the spouses.

With the help of a marriage contract, German spouses living abroad or couples with different nationalities can determine the application of the law for their marriage and prevent conflicts of jurisdiction later on.

Can a marriage contract also be concluded during the marriage?

A marriage contract can be concluded both before and during the marriage. In most cases, it makes sense to conclude a contract before entering into marriage, because during the marriage the spouse is then of course no longer obliged to conclude a marital contract.

The ideal time is therefore when both partners are not thinking about the failure of the marriage, but simply want to draw up a provision for the eventuality.

Under certain circumstances, it is also possible to amend the marriage contract afterwards and adapt it to new life circumstances, if both spouses agree on this. An adjustment can be particularly relevant if life circumstances have developed differently than the spouses had planned when they concluded the marriage contract.

If the marriage has broken down or is likely to break down, the spouses can make arrangements regarding the division of assets and maintenance within the framework of a divorce settlement agreement.

Are you getting married?

Your prenuptial agreement with Kutter Law

The prenuptial agreement is a set of rules customised to your personal situation that will save you a lot of money in the event of divorce. Therefore, depending on the individual case, it must be weighed up which matrimonial property regime seems most appropriate and which provisions are made.

As experts of many years’ standing, we can explain the effects of the different matrimonial property regimes during and after marriage and advise you on the possibilities of adapting them. In doing so, we rely on personal and open correspondence with our clients.

Rechtsanwältin Katharina Kutter – Familienrecht und Erbrecht
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