2 Is there a statutory matrimonial property regime and if so, what does it provide?

2.1. Please describe the general principles: Which goods are part of community property? Which goods are part of the separate estates of the spouses?

Unless otherwise provided in their marriage contract, after marriage, the spouses are subject to the community of property regime for the duration of their joint marital life (statutory matrimonial property regime). Upon entering into marriage, the statutory matrimonial property regime will become effective also retroactively for the time of the spouses’ life partnership preceding marriage.

(Art. 4:34 (2) and 4:35 (1) of the Act V of 2013 on the Civil Code [hereinafter: Civil Code])

All assets acquired jointly or individually by the spouses during the marital community of property form part of the undivided common property of the spouses, except for assets belonging to a spouse's separate property (see below). Profits from separate assets also form part of the common property if these profits were accrued during the joint marital life. Any administrative or maintenance costs and charges for these assets are deducted from the profits.

(Art. 4:37 (1) and (3-4) of the Civil Code)

The separate assets of each spouse include:

  • assets acquired before the beginning of the marital community of property;
  • assets inherited or received as a gift and assets received without compensation during the marital community of property;
  • rights of the spouse as the proprietor of intellectual property, except for the royalties due during the marital community of property;
  • any compensation received for personal injury;
  • assets of personal use of customary value;
  • assets substituting separate assets, and anything of value acquired for such assets.

If an asset replaces an asset of customary value which was the separate property of one of the spouses and which was used during the spouses' common everyday life, the new asset becomes part of the common property after five years of joint marital life.

(Art. 4:38 (1-3) of the Civil Code)

2.2. Are there legal assumptions concerning the attribution of property?

The assets belonging to the spouses during the marital community of property will be considered to be part of the spouses' common property unless otherwise provided for in the Civil Code or unless it is proven that they belong to the separate property of one of the spouses.

Moreover, if an obligation – relating to the common property or to the separate property of either spouse – was fulfilled during the existence of the marital community property, it has to be considered as having been fulfilled from the common property, unless proven otherwise. If value was added to the common or separate property while the marital community of property was in effect, it will be assumed that the source of the added value (e.g. by investment, renovation or maintenance) came from the common property, unless proven otherwise.

(Art. 4:40 (1-2) of the Civil Code)

2.3. Should the spouses establish an inventory of assets? If so, when and how?

Under Hungarian law, the spouses are not required to establish an inventory of assets.

2.4. Who is in charge of the administration of the property? Who is entitled to dispose of the property? May one spouse dispose of/administer the property alone or is the consent of the other spouse necessary (e.g. in cases of disposal of the spouses’ home)? What effect does the missing consent have on the validity of a legal transaction and on opposability towards a third party?

Either spouse may use the assets belonging to the common property, according to their purpose. Neither of the spouses should exercise this right with prejudice to the rights and lawful interests of the other spouse. Both spouses together are entitled to administer the assets of their common property.

Either spouse can claim the permission of the other spouse for activities that are necessary to protect and maintain their common property. Urgent measures for the protection of assets may be taken by either spouse without the consent of the other spouse. However, the other spouse should be notified thereof without delay.

(Art. 4:42 (1-2) of the Civil Code)

Special rules are applicable to the use and the administration of the assets belonging to the common property, but serving for the pursuit of the profession or private entrepreneurial activity of one of the spouses. The Hungarian law also prescribes special rules in respect of the exercise of membership or shareholders’ rights if the spouse is a member or shareholder of a sole proprietorship, a cooperative society or a company.

(Art. 4:43 (1-2) of the Civil Code)

During the community of property the spouses shall be able to make any disposition relating to their community property collectively, or subject to the other spouse’s consent. As regards an agreement concluded by one of the spouses during the community of property, no formal requirements apply to the other spouse’s consent.

(Art. 4:45 of the Civil Code)

Any contract for pecuniary interest concluded by a spouse during the community of property shall be presumed - unless otherwise provided for in the Civil Code - to have been concluded with the other spouse’s consent if the contracting third party was aware, or should have been aware that the other spouse had not given his/her prior consent for the contract.

If the spouse concluded a contract aimed at satisfying his/her everyday needs or within the framework of the pursuit of his/her profession or business activity, the other spouse may invoke the lack of his/her consent only if having specifically expressed to the contracting third party his/her objection before the contract was concluded.

(Art. 4:46 of the Civil Code)

Neither of the spouses shall be entitled to dispose over the real estate property serving as the jointly owned family home of the spouses during community of property, or during the time period between the termination of the marriage and the division of community property without the other spouse’s consent. In that case the other spouse’s consent shall not be presumed.

(Art. 4:48 of the Civil Code)

2.5. Are any legal transactions made by one spouse also binding on the other?

Where a spouse enters into a contract involving community property, he/she shall cover any debts arising out of or in connection with such contract from his/her separate property and from his/her share of the community property.

Where a spouse did not take part in concluding a contract that the other spouse entered into with his/her consent, the non-participating spouse is only liable against third parties with his/her share of the community property.

(Art. 4:49 of the Civil Code)

Where a spouse did not consent to a contract concluded by the other spouse regarding community property, and no consent can be presumed or the presumption has been rebutted, the spouse shall not be held liable for any obligation arising out of or in connection with that contract. A contract concluded without the spouse’s consent shall have no effect against him/her if the acquiring party acted in bad faith or had a gratuitous advantage originating from the contract. If the other spouse concluded the contract with his/her relative, bad faith and gratuitous nature shall be presumed.


(Art. 4:50 of the Civil Code)

2.6. Who is liable for debts incurred during the marriage? Which property may be used by creditors to satisfy their claims?

Community property of the spouses shall include the burdens of their common assets and they shall collectively shoulder the debts arising out of or in connection with obligations undertaken by either of the spouses during community of property. Community property shall not include those assets, burdens and debts which are treated as separate property of either spouse.

(Art. 4:37 (2) and (4) of the Civil Code)

Apart from statutory maintenance obligations, any debt arising out of or in connection with an act that took place before the onset of the joint marital life shall be charged to the separate property. Separate property shall include the burdens on assets forming part of separate property and the interest on any debt treated as separate liability.

Separate property shall include any debt incurred during joint marital life:

  • that is related to the acquisition or maintenance of separate property, excluding the expenses related to the proceeds of such separate property and to the maintenance of assets which are used or utilized by the spouses collectively;
  • that is related to a spouse’s disposition of his/her separate property;
  • by one spouse without consideration upon community property, without the consent of the other spouse; and
  • resulting from any unlawful and intentional conduct, or gross negligence of the spouse, if the debt is in excess of the other spouse’s enrichment.

Even if a debt belongs to the separate property of a spouse, in relation to third parties the other spouse is also liable for it.

(Art. 4:39 (1-4) of the Civil Code)

The costs of maintenance and administration of the assets of community property, the costs of maintaining the common household and the expenses for supporting and raising the common children of the spouses shall primarily be covered from the community property. If the community property is insufficient to cover these costs and expenses, they shall be covered from the spouses’ separate property as commensurate. If only one of the spouses has separate property, the funds required to cover the outstanding expenses shall be made available by that spouse.

(Art. 4:44 of the Civil Code)