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Laws applicable to patrimonial reports of couples who live in Slovakia

Thanks to far-sighted and clever fiscal investment policies and incentives, Slovakia has become a popular destination for huge companies who want to invest and relocate their business in Europe and, consequently, for all those European citizens crushed by the disastrous political and economic situation of their native countries.

This impressive flow of investment and immigration has created the need to regulate every aspect of the life of so-called "expats".

This article is aimed to highlight the laws applicable to marriage life of foreigners who live in this small "mittle-european" country. Slovak legislation statues that personal and spousal relations between foreign spouses living in Slovakia are ruled by spouses’ national law, if their nationality is the same.

On the other hand, if spouses don’t have the same nationality, marriage life will be ruled by Slovak law, as spouses are not allowed to operate the so-called "professio juris". Concerning economic relations, under the Slovak Civil Code (Občianskeho zákonníka), spouses share indivisible joint ownership of their common properties, i.e. what is due to each of them is not quantifiable.

All tangible properties (movable and immovable propertoes), rights and other patrimonial assets legally acquired or anyway bought by one of the spouses during the marriage are subject to the regime of communion. This scheme, which can be compared to the Italian legal communion regime, excepted for the following goods:

• those who are acquired by succession;
• those who are acquired by donation;
• goods that, due to their nature, meet the personal needs or the profession of only one of the spouses;
• the goods returned, in accordance with the Restitution Regulations, to the spouse who owned them before the marriage or the owner of the property, as legitimate successor to the original owner (Article 143 Občianskeho zákonníka (OZ) - Slovak Civil Code).

There are, in this context, no legal presumptions about the attribution of the property to either spouse and drawing up an inventory of spouses’ assets is not mandatory.

Regarding economic provisions, properties included in the communion can be used by both spouses, unless otherwise agreed, and likewise the spouses are jointly obliged for the maintenance and maintenance costs eventually incurred (Article 144 Občianskeho zákonníka (OZ) - Slovak Civil Code). Of course, being such a joint obligation, if the expenses are paid only by one of the spouse with his personal assets, he may require reimbursement in the event of any division of the common property.

If the spouses do not agree on how to use a common good or to allocate costs for a good, any of the spouses can claim to judge to resolve the issue. Ordinary communion issues can be resolved by any of the spouses.

The term "ordinary question" is not defined by Slovak civil code, therefore the legal practice and the circumstances of the particular case are used to define each case. According to legal practice, for example, it cannot be considered an ordinary matter to conclude a lease, purchase or sale of a property. For other issues, you need the consent of both spouses to avoid the invalidity of the transaction.

This invalidity does not work automatically, but must be detected on one party's request. It is important to point out that such rules are valid only for couples who have contracted a valid marriage (not necessarily in Slovakia), as the Slovak legal system does not legally recognize civil unions or couples in fact.

The rules so far outlined can be defined as "standard", as spouses are always free to regulate their patrimonial relationships by means of marriage conventions, which are ruled by laws applicable to the spouses' assets at the time of the convention (Article 21 Zákona or medzinárodnom práve súkromnom a procesnom - Private International Law and the Slovak Proceedings code) and has necessarily to be stipulated by a Notary, which will record them in the general register of notarial acts (Slovak Republic does not have an ad hoc register for marriage conventions).

Marriage conventions has to be subsequent to marriage, as Slovak law does not legally recognize pre-marital agreements. If the convention concerns a property, it becomes effective only after the transcripts in the real estate registers.

In relation to the division of marriage communion or of an additional property following to divorce or annulment of the joint lease of a dwelling, jurisdiction lies with the court which has issued the divorce statement.

For matrimonial matters, international courts have jurisdiction over the Slovak courts if at least one of the spouses is a citizen of the Slovak Republic or if at least one of the spouses lives there and the statement is recognizable in their home countries.

Anyway, before entering into any kind of marriage agreement or solving dispute resolution methods, it is always useful and advisable to contact a qualified Slovak lawyer.

More articles in Family law

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JUDr. Milan Ficek,
attorney at law, Slovakia, Bratislava
LEXANA - asistentka

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