Attorney explains: how to divide assets after the termination of a registered partnership
The termination of a registered partnership may (but not necessarily) grant the partner a financial claim. When registering a partnership, partners jointly choose the property regime applicable to their partnership. The options are exactly the same as in marriage:
- Joint property,
- Set-off of assets increment or
- Separate property.
Partners an also enter into a separate property agreement during the registration of their partnership or throughout the duration of the registered partnership. This allows them to make specific arrangements regarding certain assets, such as designating a particular item as separate property within a joint property regime or vice versa.
Furthermore, if desired, cohabitants can later change the type of their property regime.
Differences between property regimes
Joint Property means that items and other property rights acquired during the registered partnership belong to both partners (thus creating jointness of property). However, personal items of the partners (such as toothbrushes or clothes), items acquired before the registration of the partnership, items gifted or inherited by either partner, items acquired with separate property, as well as shares in pension funds, money in a pension investment account, and financial assets purchased with such funds, are not included in joint property.
When a registered partnership ends, the joint property accumulated during the partnership (along with any associated liabilities) needs to be divided between the partners. In the case of joint property, it is generally assumed that the property should be divided equally between the partners. However, if there is a property agreement in place, the division of assets should adhere to the terms outlined in the agreement, deviating from the assumption of equal division.
Set-off of assets increment
Set-off of assets increment means, in simple terms, that at the end of a registered partnership, the increment in assets of each partner must be equal. To achieve such equality, the partner who has acquired more assets during the registered partnership must provide financial compensation to the other partner.
Partners A and B were in a registered partnership for one year. During the partnership, A acquired assets with a value of 10,000 euros, while B acquired assets with a value of 30,000 euros. Consequently, B's asset increment during the partnership was 20,000 euros higher than A's. To correct this financial imbalance, a set-off of assets increment is carried out. B must provide A with 10,000 euros. As a result, both A and B have acquired 20,000 euros during the partnership. Similarly to the termination of community property, it is advisable, whenever possible, for the partners to reach a mutual agreement in this type of property relationship as well.
Separate property regime means that the partners do not acquire joint ownership of assets during the duration of the registered partnership (except when specifically agreed upon, such as through a prenuptial agreement or when acquiring real estate through a notary). In this case, former partners do not have financial claims against each other upon the termination of the registered partnership.
In theory, all available types of property regimes may seem relatively understandable and easily graspable. However, it is important to consider that each case contains unique details to a greater or lesser extent, which can affect the legal consequences. Therefore, when choosing the type of property regime, it is important to take into account the factual circumstances of your own case (such as whether the parties are economically fairly equal, the extent to which the parties depend on each other economically, the strength of mutual trust, etc.). From a legal perspective, it is always advisable, in case of doubt, to protect oneself and one's assets and try to avoid future disputes. To make an informed choice, it is recommended to consult with a neutral individual possessing legal knowledge before making significant financial decisions.