Matrimonial property regime refers to a regime that limits the freedom of spouses to manage property and the couple's obligations to the family. The civil code of Cambodia divides matrimonial property regime into two regimes.

  1. Contractual Property Regime

A matrimonial property contract refers to a contract between married couples or people who are going to get married in accordance to the civil code of Cambodia (fiancé) in order to clarify the property ownership.

  1. Registration of matrimonial property contract
  • When to register

Before or after marriage, couples can register the matrimonial property contract every working day at the civil affair department of Ministry of Justice. The main purpose and benefit of registering property contract is to clearly identify the ownership of assets owned by husband and wife and plan for the future. For instance, some properties may be personal or common properties or personal or common debts. Furthermore, it's also a safe guard in case of future divorce also strong evidence for dividing property when getting divorce.

  • How to register

After a matrimonial property contract is signed, married couple or people who are going to get married shall file application for registration of matrimonial property contract. The application for registration of matrimonial property contract is a written form given by Ministry of Justice which consist of the following matter such as name, date of birth, and address of contracting parties. For instance, the purpose of registration is to clarify the property ownership between you and husband or wife. Then, you have to state the ground and date of your contract as well as date of your marriage in case you are a married couple. 

  • Document attached

Along with the application form, applicants must submit a matrimonial property contract, marriage certificate, certificate of immovable property, perpetual lease, usufruct, or proxy (if any), and ID cards or passports. Applicants must submit the attached files in two versions; one is original version and other is copied version indicating that the contents in the documents are not different from the original. Regarding with document attached to the application, applicants may demand return of original document after submitted.

  • Certificate of matrimonial property contract

After application for registration of matrimonial property contract is accepted and registered, applicants can apply for a certificate of matrimonial property contract by filing an application form to Ministry of Justice. The Ministry of Justice is the authority competent to certify registration and to issue certificate of matrimonial property contract, within 3 days after submission of application.

  1. Registration of changes of matrimonial property contract

Whenever there is a change to the matters registered in matrimonial property contract, applicants shall jointly file another application for registration of change. The change in matrimonial property contract maybe a change of contents of contract, change of name or address of parties, etc. The application for registration of change of matrimonial property contract is a written form given by Ministry of Justice which consists of any matters such as name, date of birth, and address of contracting parties. Besides, the application also states the purpose of registration. For instance, the purpose of registration is to change the content of matrimonial property contract. Then, reason for the change would have to be stated as well as date of change and matter to be changed. 

  1. Deregistration of matrimonial property contract

A matrimonial property contract can be deregistered based on any reason such as:

  • Marriage or engagement dissolution
  • Reason of nullity, rescission or termination of contract
  • Death of any spouse
  • Final and binding judgment dissolving marriage and dividing properties
  • Court decision of divorce based on provision of law on non-suit civil case procedure

In case of any of the above, any one party to the matrimonial property contract can apply deregister the contract to the Ministry of Justice.

  1. Statutory Property Regime

In case the married couple did not choose a contractual property regime, their assets will be categorized in accordance with the statutory system.

  1. Separate property

The types of property listed below shall be treated as separate property belonging to one of the spouses alone:

  1. Property held by a spouse prior to marriage;
  2. Property acquired by a spouse during the marriage by gift, succession, or testamentary gift; and
  3. Property obtained as the consideration for disposing of property described in items (a) or (b) above.

A spouse has the right to use, enjoy the benefits from and manage his or her own (separate) property. A spouse can reside in the separate property of the other spouse if such property has been provided as the matrimonial residence. The separate property of one spouse that has been provided as the matrimonial residence was disposed of without the consent of the other spouse, the other spouse may continue residing upon such immovable.

  1. Community property

Common property shall refer to any and all property acquired during the marriage by one or both spouses, other than property acquired by a spouse during the marriage by gift, succession, or testamentary gift; and property obtained as the consideration for disposing of separate property.

  • Management and use of common property

Husband and wife have equal rights to use, enjoy the benefits and manage the common property to the extent necessary for their daily life.

Concerning the management or use of the common property shall be reached upon consultation between the spouses. If the consultation is unable to be held between the spouses, either spouse may seek judgment by the court concerning such management or use.

  • joint liability for obligations

Spouses are jointly liable for the following obligations:

  • Expenses for the maintenance of the cohabitation of the husband and the wife, and expenses for the care of children such as education and medical expenses;
  • Obligations and other liabilities agreed in writing by both spouses during the marriage, and other liabilities assumed by one of the spouses with the written consent of the other spouse during the marriage; and
  • Expenses for the management and maintenance of the common property.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.