Marriage law updates create more equal position

POSTED: 02/13/12 3:02 PM

St. Maarten – The laws governing marriage are being updated to give more privileges to a spouse who may not have contributed in cash to the buildup assets when the marriage is being dissolved. Notaries mainly focused these provisions which relate to being married into a community of goods when they met parliament on Thursday.

According to President of the Notary Association Henry Parisius people who marry into a community of goods without a prenuptial agreement will evenly split all assets from before the marriage and that were accumulated during the marriage. This will exclude inheritance and gifts, but will cover things like lottery earnings.

The new law also introduces a provision where if a spouse uses the other person’s assets and the value of the investment increases the spouse whose assets were used will also share in the increased value. For example if a husband buys a home with his wife’s money and it increases in value, she will share in the increase.

The new rules also allow stipulate that the divorce is granted retroactively to the moment the petition is filed with the courts. This means that any debts or assets accumulated after the filing cannot be claimed as part of the division.

The new law also extends the provisions of marital agreements and gives more rights to the spouse that stays home and raises the children. The changes also designate the notaries as the ones to ensure that debts to third parties will continue to be paid, once the divorce is finalized. This responsibility is currently executed by judges.

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