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EULawyer, Lawyer
Category: Republic of Ireland Law
Satisfied Customers: 267
Experience:  Titular Attorney (Avocat) at Ioan-Luca Vlad Law Office
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I am in the process of Legal Separation in Ireland. We own a

Customer Question

I am in the process of Legal Separation in Ireland. We own a property in France which my wife wishes to 'gift' to me as part of the agreement. How can this be expedited in France when we are not divorced?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Republic of Ireland Law
Expert:  EULawyer replied 2 years ago.

Dear Customer,

This is indeed a very complicated question of private international law. Within the spectrum of this question.

The basic idea is that when married, you are subjected to what is called a 'matrimonial regime' which is the body of rules governing the individual and joint property of the couple. Normally, this regime should be easy to point (the legal regime in the country where the couple live). However, in international situations, the regime 'moves' with the couple, or, absent an international convention, countries can see different regimes as applying at the same time for the same couple.

This is the case with France. France has signed the 1978 Hague Convention on the Law Applicable to Matrimonial Property Regimes. Even if Ireland is not a party to it, the Convention applies to you because of a special clause for this purpose (Article 2), when dealing with France.

The solution to your question lies in Article 6 paragraph 3 of this Convention, which says that 'the spouses, whether or not they have designated a law [...] may designate with respect to all or some of the immovables, the law of the place where these immovables are situated. [...]'

Translated into English, this means that you can choose French law to govern your matrimonial regime specifically for the property in France. French law provides for several matrimonial regimes, so you then have a second option. In your case, it would be 'separation des biens' (the regime where each spouse owns specific shares, or even the entirety of the property).

So, to achieve the desired end, you would need to follow these steps:

1. Go to the French notary again, pointing to the above-mentioned Convention (full French official text here: and asking to make a post-marriage marriage contract;

2. The marriage contract should state that you chose French law as the applicable law for your matrimonial regime, specifically with regard to the particular property;

3. Within the French law, the contract should state that you pick the separation regime (separation des biens);

4. Once these choices are made, the contract should state that the specific property belongs to you.

The notary will have to enroll the contract in several registers (marriage regime register, property register), but such a contract would ensure the transaction is secure.

I remain available for questions. Please appreciate that this is highly specialized knowledge, and be so kind as to rate my answer.


Dr Ioan-Luca Vlad