DIVISION OF COMMUNITY PROPERTY LAWYER
In Spain, when a couple marries the usual marital property regime applied is known as the community of acquests and gains, which is the most widespread in the country. From the moment the marriage takes place, all the money both spouses earn and all the assets that they purchase will be owned by both spouses, regardless of title.
When a couple decides to get divorced, they usually wish to split the assets acquired during their marriage, proceeding to what is known as the division of community property. Disputes can arise between the spouses, since each one has rarely contributed the exact same amount as the other, and it is not always easy to split assets, for example in cases where there is only one house.
If both parties agree, the division can be formalised before a notary, but if not, community property must be divided by the court.
WHAT TO DO IF…
The easiest and cheapest way to divide jointly-owned assets is to do so in the divorce arrangement. Although it is ideal, the truth is it is not always easy to solve patrimonial issues during this first moment in the divorce, as many other matters have been discussed (custody, child maintenance, etc.) in order to reach an arrangement. However, if it’s possible to overcome the initial difficulty, it is highly recommended.
The legal proceedings to divide community property are split into two stages (asset inventory and division), and can therefore drag on. The time required alone is reason enough to do everything to reach a settlement between the parties, which will avoid problems and a lot of time on both ends.
All parties must benefit from the settlement, if it is reasonable. So, in case of a divorce, even in property matters it is important to make an effort to agree.
DIVISION OF COMMUNITY PROPERTY: EXAMPLES
We have decided to divorce, but we only own one house, which is where we live. In order to proceed to divide our conjugal property, we need to know first who gets custody, but I want to reach a global agreement regarding custody and the house.
I inherited when I was married, and now my wife wants to include those assets in our Community of Acquests and Gains. However, the inheritance is my private property, and there’s no doubt that I don’t have to give her anything.
We own two apartments, and we figured that the easiest thing to divide our conjugal assets is for each one of us to receive one; the party who receives the apartment of less value can be compensated by the other with money. By doing so, we avoid having to go to court and we can solve it quickly in front of a notary.