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changing maritial status


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We got married in England, but have lived in France ever since. My husband is French and the marriage has been registed in France as well, and having made no contract, we are therefore married under the regime of the communaute reduite aux aquets.

This does not sit well with my English sensibilities, especially in consideration of an eventual inheritance taxes. Having seen the problems his mother encountered after the death of his father (despite having a very uncomplicated family!) my husband is also convinced that in the end changing to the communaute universelle would be a good move.

We are going to buy a house soon, and I wonder whether we should change at that time. Neither of us has been married before. I understand that it is not possible, or at least inadvisable, to do a CU if you have children under 18. My real question is, we have no children now, but plan on having some (having bought the house!)and if we make a contract before the children are born, could they protest against it later? Are there any other reasons to wait?

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if we make a
>contract before the children are
>born, could they protest against
>it later?


as said above look through the forums for lots of postings on this. This is really now a cultural difference between the French and the British. In france they better protect the children, in the UK it is the spouse.Nevertheless since the 2003 law change in france in respect of better protection for the surviving spouse there is less need to change and inheritance tax is probably a lot less (could be almost zero) depending on the number of kids you have for a 50/50 separation of assets. If you married after 1/9/92 you would need a judge to change your regime, since you have lived in France for the period immediately after the marriage and thus it is in fact deemed to be a french marriage. This will be expensive !

Also note that there are risks in choosing a CU marriage regime - one being that if you ever separated it is extremely difficult (almost impossible) to administer. This is the reason that french people do not do this until much later in life(if at all).


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Yes, you will find that there is a very long thread which I posted on exactly this topic only two weeks ago. To opt for CU whilst buying the house seems sensible. We only found out about it too late, and now have to pay a large sum to a notaire to change our marital status, which, by the way, can only be done in France, as we are resident in Belgium and have ascertained this through the local consulate here.
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