On Tuesday, 29 March 2017 the Dutch Senate adopted the legislative proposal ‘Limited Community of Property’ by a scant majority (38 in favour – 37 against!). A clear sign that not everyone is happy with the new act.

This act puts an end to the general community of property that arises when people get married or enter into a registered partnership without making a prenuptial agreement. Under the new act personal assets and debts that were yours before the marriage will not be included in the community of property. The same goes for any inheritances or gifts that you acquire before or during marriage.

The nay voters question the act’s enforceability. Keeping private and joint assets separately requires proper records. If records are not kept properly, it is impossible to determine what belongs to whom in case of a divorce. The act’s opponents fear that as a result the number of messy divorces will increase.

Prenups Still Highly Advisable

The new act still allows for prenuptial agreements, and we strongly advise you to do so, in particular in the situations listed below:

  • You or your spouse is an entrepreneur;
  • You specifically want general community of property, not excluding any assets;
  • International situations: for instance, you are expats, you and your spouse have different nationalities, have assets in different countries, or expect to emigrate;
  • You or your spouse has invested private capital in the other spouse’s assets or in joint assets;
  • You do not wish to be automatically liable for your spouse’s debts;
  • Before the marriage, you have joint assets in a ratio other than 50/50.

When Does the New Act Take Effect?

The act is expected to take effect on 1 July 2017. Are you getting married before that date? In that case, this new act does not apply to you yet.

Avoid unpleasant surprises and contact us for expert advice.