Separation of Estates

Through the Separation of Estates régime each spouse retains full control over his or her estate. In such case there is one family unit but economically they are two separate individuals. By opting for this régime spouses remain the sole owners of any possession they had before marriage and after marriage.

Spouses can be co-owner but they need not be so in equal parts. For example the matrimonial home can be paid for 25% by the wife and remaining part by the husband and/or a third party.

In the same way spouses will be responsible for debts which they may acquire before and after marriage. The debts will be shouldered by the person who created such a debt.

By separating assets each spouse ensures total professional autonomy and will avoid imposing on the other spouse risks of a more or less risky professional activity.

In practical terms therefore if a spouse takes out a loan to fix the matrimonial home the loan is to be paid only by that spouse.

Advantages

  1. The property of either spouse is kept under separate administration. Therefore if one of the spouses incurs a debt the other party will not make good for that debt by the fruit of his or her work.
  2. Through this way of administering property, spouses will ensure that the other spouse will not unjustly enrich himself or herself from the work of the other spouse.

Disadvantages

  1. Matrimonial life is about sharing and commitment. Some people are of the view that when spouses separate their financial income, assets and liabilities they would be going against the spirit in which matrimonial life should operate.

Uses

  1. Separation of estates is favoured when one or both spouses are involved in commercial activities that are risky, since through such commercial activities they can incur debts. In such case the debt incurred would never be satisfied with the work or fruits of the other spouse.