Registering rights derived from acts between spouses

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Would the Land Registry make changes in ownership’s entry (proprietorship) on the bases of acts performed between the spouses?

Changes can only be made in the Land Registry in the Republic of Croatia based on written documents explicitly allowing the registration of a particular right for the benefit of a particular person, which document contains a notarised signature of the person whose right is thereby limited, encumbered or transferred to another person.

Registration of the ownership right on matrimonial property which is real property can be made based on a request by both spouses containing an express, written and unconditional statement whereby one spouse consents to the other spouse registering the ownership right, in equal shares or otherwise, if so agreed. The document containing an express, written and unconditional statement must contain a notarised signature of the spouse consenting to the other spouse registering the ownership right.

The spouses may conclude an agreement on distributing matrimonial property whereby they define how their ownership rights will be registered in the Land Registry.

A contract on distributing matrimonial property must be concluded in writing, and the parties’ signatures notarised. In practice, the spouses often conclude contracts on disposition of real property, as marital partners are exempt from paying taxes if gifting real property to one another. For this reason, there is basically no difference between the spouses concluding a contract on distributing matrimonial property, contract on distributing co-owned property, contract on distributing property, a disposition contract, or any other legal act.

With regard to the requirements for permissibility of land book registration, all general and special requirements must be met that otherwise apply for land book registration, i.e. a request for registration must be submitted, original or certified copy of the document serving as a ground for registration must be enclosed, as well as any other documents that may be required for permissibility of land book registration, and registration must be possible and allowed with regard to the state of the land book.

With regard to foreign nationals, all requirements apply to distribution of property between the spouses as otherwise. Citizens of European Union member states may acquire title to construction land without any limitations, while third-country nationals require an approval by the Ministry of Justice to be able to acquire title to property.

In addition, the spouses may file a civil lawsuit to the competent municipal court to distribute matrimonial property, in which case land book registration is allowed based on a final and enforceable court decision. If a civil lawsuit is filed to distribute matrimonial property, the spouses may request entering a notification of dispute, thus reserving a priority position for enforcing a decision made in that particular lawsuit, which means that such a decision is enforced as if it were submitted to the Land Registry court at the moment when the request for entering the notification of dispute was received.

Practical case 1

Paul and Mary married and they both own jointly an immovable property registered as such in your land book. Following a divorced between them, the property will become of exclusive ownership of Mary;

 a) by means of the Court decision,
b) by an agreement between spouses in order the liquidation of their common assets.

In case of a divorce, the situation is relevant if in land register both spouses were earlier registered as co-owners. They could submit the application to register ownership of the property in one spouse’s benefit on the basis of the court decision or by an agreement between spouses in order the liquidation of their common assets.

 Practical case 2

Paul is the registered owner of an immovable property acquired by succession. Sometime after his registration, Paul marries Mary and decides that the property will be in the common ownership of both spouses, so they perform the transmission act by a matrimonial property agreement according to the applicable law.

In case of succession the application for registration to the land register is accompanied by document on the basis of which one spouse transfers his ownership of the property to other spouse. Since this is not a matrimonial economic regime because the property is acquired by succession, and the document on which property would be transferred is, for example, a real estate contract.

In both cases there is no difference if persons are married or in registered partnership.