PROPRIETARY RELATIONS BETWEEN SPOUSES IN THE REPUBLIC OF CROATIA
Proprietary relations between spouses in Croatia are regulated by the Family Law Act. According to the provisions of the Family Law Act spouses can have a community of property and separate property.
A community of property is such property acquired by working of spouses in the course of their marriage or it is a result of such property. Spouses are co-owners of their community of property in equal shares, unless otherwise agreed. Namely, spouses can regulate their relations regarding their community of property by closing a matrimonial agreement. According to the law, gains from games of chance as well as copyright benefits are considered a community of property.
On the other side, a separate property of individual spouse is a property that he owns in the moment of the conclusion of the marriage as well as the property that he acquired during the marriage, but not on the grounds of labour, gains from games of chance or copyright benefits. For example, a property which a spouse acquires through the inheritance or donation during the marriage will remain his own separate property. It is also expressly provided by law that the copyright is considered a separate property of the spouse who created it, while the benefit from the copyright accomplished during the marriage belongs to the community of property.
It is provided that matrimonial agreement can regulate proprietary relations regarding both present and future property, and one can conclude such agreement before or during the marriage. However, a matrimonial agreement concluded before the marriage has a suspensive effect. For the validity of a matrimonial agreement, a written form with notarised signatures is required. Croatian Family Law Act doesn’t allow stipulating the application of foreign law to the proprietary relations between spouses.
Whatever it is provided by law for proprietary relations between spouses applies to the extra-marital union (provided that it is the union of unmarried woman and unmarried man lasting at least 3 years or shorter if their common child is born).
In case of a court dispute in respect of proprietary relations of spouses, the applicable law is one of country of their citizenship. If spouses have different citizenship, the applicable law is one of their place of residence, and if they have neither common citizenship nor the place of residence in the same country, the law of their last common place of residence shall apply. If the applicable law couldn’t be determined by one of the mentioned ways, the Croatian law shall apply.