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Under Articles 36 et seq. of the Monegasque Code of Private International Law, the matrimonial regime is governed by the spouses’ chosen national law. The spouses may opt for the law of the State in which they establish their place of domicile after the marriage, the law of a State of which one of them holds the nationality at the time, the law of a State in which one of them is domiciled at the time, or the law of the State in which the marriage is solemnised. The national law chosen then applies to all of their property.
If the spouses do not specifically choose a law, the matrimonial regime will be governed by the law of the State in which the couple establish their place of domicile after the marriage. If they do not have a place of domicile in the same State, the regime will be governed by the State of which both spouses are nationals when the marriage is solemnised. If they do not have a place of domicile in the same State and do not share the same nationality, or if they share more than one nationality, the regime will be governed by Monegasque law.
Article 1243 of the Civil Code of Monaco also allows spouses, if they wish, to change their matrimonial regime by notarised deed, where justified by the family’s interests. These changes will be subject to the law initially chosen by the spouses to govern their matrimonial regime.
Pursuant to the provisions of Article 37 of the Monegasque Code of Private International Law, the spouses may nonetheless change the law applicable to their matrimonial regime at any time. In this case, they must expressly designate their chosen law.
The deed changing the matrimonial regime is then submitted to the court for approval, where Monegasque law applies or is chosen by the spouses.
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The spouses may establish their new marriage contract in accordance with the principle of freedom of contract and subject to the limitations imposed by public order provisions and good morals regarding the rights and obligations of marriage, legal administration, guardianship and order of succession.
The spouses may opt for the regimes of separation of property, community of acquests, or universal community of all property. The Court of First Instance recently ruled that it was also possible to combine a community of acquests with the separation of property regime, despite the repeal of earlier laws explicitly providing for this option, provided the family’s interests are respected.
The family’s interests are deemed to be established where the regime change is intended to protect the surviving spouses while also preserving the rights of the spouses’ respective heirs, who have declared themselves in favour of the change considered.