Civil marriage and division of property

A civil marriage gives a sense of freedom: if they quarreled, they separated, and no one owes anything to anyone. Indeed, if the couple lived in such a marriage for a year or two and earned only a common cactus, there will be no problems. But if the marriage lasted for decades, and the couple bought a house, a car, land, then it will be more difficult to break up just like that. The couple will want to divide the property, and if they do not come to a good agreement, they will have to divide the proceeds through court.

In Ukraine, 82% of young people aged 18 to 29 support civil marriage, and 45% of adults approve of this choice of young people. That is, it can rightfully be considered a norm for Ukrainian society.

In the legislation, this norm is reflected in Art. 74 of the Family Code of Ukraine: “If a woman and a man live in the same family, but are not married to each other or in any other marriage, the property acquired by them during their cohabitation belongs to them under the right of joint co-ownership, unless otherwise not established by a written agreement between them.”

This means that all earnings in a civil marriage will be divided on the same basis as earnings in an official marriage. They are mentioned in Art. 60 of the Family Code of Ukraine: the property acquired by the spouses during the marriage belongs to the wife and husband under the right of joint co-ownership, regardless of the fact that one of them did not have an independent earnings (income); it is considered that every thing acquired during the marriage, except for things of individual use, is the object of the right of joint property of the spouses. In other words, if the couple goes to court, they have a good chance of dividing the property bought in a civil marriage equally.

What property will be divided?

Only joint property purchased during marriage can be divided. For it to be considered as such, 2 conditions must be met: the property must be purchased during the period of the couple’s joint life; be the result of their work, that is, it is important that a man and a woman live together and run a household. If one of these conditions is not fulfilled or not proven, then the property is considered separate or joint in part. Such property will be divided either in shares, or will go only to its owner.

What property will not be divided?

Personal items (for example, clothes, watches); things given to a man or woman, or inherited; property acquired before civil marriage.

What difficulties to expect?

When people live in an official marriage, they have a marriage certificate, and it is easy for them to prove the very fact of cohabitation. When people live in a civil marriage, it is not so easy to prove that they really lived together. To do this, they will need to do two things:

  • add to the statement of claim for the division of property a line that it is necessary to prove the fact of joint residence;
  • attach evidence to the lawsuit: joint photos, tickets from common trips, credit documents, where one takes a loan and the other acts as a guarantor, a photo with a child, and others – your imagination is at your fingertips in this regard, so that it is effective .

Another risk is associated with the division of property in a civil marriage: while the court is going on, the owner of the property, i.e. the one to whom it is registered, may have time to sell it or give it away. And by the time it comes to division, there will be nothing to divide. In this regard, at the beginning of the process, the property is usually seized, and this procedure should be started as soon as possible. In this case, you will need a lawyer.


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