Our law office offers complete legal advice and services in dividing extinguished joint property. When representing clients, we give priority to having once married couples reach an agreement regarding the division of their joint property. For this purpose, we offer clients guaranteed out-of-court negotiations with the other party or their legal representative. Only when an agreement is not possible does our legal office have the court divide joint property.
Joint property can generally be defined as the community property owned by both couples in items the married couple acquired during their marriage. The basic characteristics indicating joint ownership are that the married couple has no way of quantitatively determining their share of ownership in the joint property. In regard to joint ownership of property,the principle of a couple’s equality before the law applies to community ownership rights.
Establishing and extinguishing and the scope of joint property
§143 of the Civil Code says: “Joint property is everything that can be owned and which was acquired by either of the married couple during their marriage, except for objected inherited or obtained as a gift, as well as objects which, based on their nature, are used for personal need or the exercise of a profession by one of the married couple, and objects issued according to regulations regarding the restitution of property to one of the married spouses who owned the issued item before the marriage was solemnized or was issued the item as the legal successor of the original owner.”
It is clear from the cited legal provision that joint property includes all movable and immovable objects which either or both spouses acquired during their marriage. Joint property is established by law on the date of their marriage, i.e. the date which is recorded as the marriage date on the marriage license, and extinguished on the date when a decision by the court on the dissolution of the marriage comes into legal force. In this respect, it needs to be pointed out that joint property is not extinguished when the married couple’s common household is dissolved, i.e. a married couple living separately does not extinguish any joint property.
Joint property does not include the following items:
- Objects inherited;
- Objects obtained as a gift;
- Objects which by their nature are used for personal need or the exercise of a profession by only one of the spouses;
- Objects issued as restituted property to only one of the spouses.
The married couple may agree, pursuant to a notary’s deed, to expand or reduce the legally determined extent of joint property. Expanding the extent means joint property will also include those items which would otherwise have belonged exclusively to only one of the married couple (for example, an item which had been given as a gift to only one of the married couple). Reducing the extent of joint property needs to be understood as exempting selected items from joint property and putting them under the ownership of one of the married couple.
All joint property is utilized by both spouses together to earn a living and cover costs related to earning a living or to maintain items.
Methods of dividing joint property
§148 of the Civil Code says: “The dissolution of the marriage also extinguishes joint property,” while §149 par. 3 of the Civil Code says: “If joint property is not divided by an agreement, the court shall divide it upon a motion filed by either married couple.”
Joint property is extinguished by law when the marriage is dissolved, i.e. the date when a ruling by the court on the dissolution of the marriage comes into legal force. Only extinguished joint property can be divided. In this respect, it needs to be pointed out that the question of dividing these assets is not part of divorce proceedings.
Joint property can be divided by either of the following methods:
- An agreement to divide joint property; or
- A ruling by the court on a motion by one of the married couple.
Upozorňujeme, že ak do troch rokov od zániku bezpodielového spoluvlastníctva manželov nedošlo k jeho vyporiadaniu dohodou alebo ak bezpodielové spoluvlastníctvo manželov nebolo na návrh podaný do troch rokov od jeho zániku vyporiadané rozhodnutím súdu, platí, pokiaľ ide o hnuteľné veci, že sa manželia vyporiadali podľa stavu, v akom každý z nich veci z bezpodielového spoluvlastníctva pre potrebu svoju, svojej rodiny a domácnosti výlučne ako vlastník užíva. O ostatných hnuteľných veciach a o nehnuteľných veciach platí, že sú v podielovom spoluvlastníctve a že podiely oboch spoluvlastníkov sú rovnaké. To isté platí primerane o ostatných majetkových právach, ktoré sú pre manželov spoločné.
Agreement to divide joint property
If a formerly married couple can agree on a method of dividing their common property, it is enough when they conclude this so-called agreement to divide joint property. It should be stressed that such an agreement and the actions associated with it are always more suitable and less expensive than having the courts divide the property. In many cases, such an agreement is not possible only for the reason that the relationships between the former spouses have been seriously disrupted and broken. For this reason, it is practical for any potential out-of-court negotiations between the former married couple to be managed by participating third parties, usually their legal representatives.
Our legal office, in out-of-court negotiations regarding the division of a former married couple’s common property, utilizes all available legal resources to direct an agreement by the former spouses. An out-of-court settlement is usually reached on the basis of correspondence as well as personal meetings by both parties in the law office.
The positive result of any out-of-court settlements is subsequently a written agreement to divide joint property, which both parties
sign. Legal services provided to clients include our law office drafting this agreement.
Dividing joint property in court
If out-of-court negotiations regarding the division of a formerly married couple’s common property fail to lead to any results, either of the former spouses can have recourse to the courts with a motion to divide joint property.
In contrast to an agreement reached by the former married couple, the court can only divide extinguished joint property pursuant to the legal principles stipulated in §150 of the Civil Code. Therefore, the court will proceed according to the following principles:
- Parity principle – the basic policy is that both spouses’ shares are the same. However, this policy cannot be applied mechanically since the law allows for exceptions to this principle.
- Each of the spouses is entitled to demand reimbursement for what he or she had incurred from his or her own separate (exclusive) property for the common property and, at the same time, is obliged to pay what had been incurred from the married couple’s common property for his or her separate (exclusive) property.
- The court also considers the needs of any minor children when it divides common property.
- The court likewise considers, when dividing common property, how each of the spouses cared for the family and what they deserve for acquiring and maintaining joint property.
Using the above mentioned principles, the court, as a rule, divides the property by assigning to the exclusive ownership of each of the former spouses a percentage that corresponds to the size of each of their shares. Since the shares of both spouses are the same, the value of items which are divided between the former spouses should be the same in the final result. However, in reality it is not always possible to divide assets between the married couple so that their value is the same. In such a case, it cannot be ruled out that the court will order the spouse who received items of a higher value to pay the other spouse reasonable compensation in cash.
If the former married couple is unable to reach an agreement before the court on the value of joint property, the court usually appoints an expert who determines the general (market) value of these items as of the date the marriage was settled. Once this has been substantiated, the court divides the extinguished joint property according to a ruling that divides items between the former married couple by assigning exclusive ownership of items to each of them and, when appropriate, determining a reasonable compensation which one of the former spouses must pay the other former spouse.
However, another method of dividing common property, such as assigning assets to the common property of the former married
couple, cannot be excluded.
Our law office offers full legal representation in proceedings to divide joint property until the final resolution of the matter.