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Division of property bought out of marriage in Russia

In the modern world, young people are in no hurry to tie the knot with their partner, preferring to get to know each other better and live together for some time. Having fallen in love, people do not take the marriage certificate seriously, considering it just a formality.

But one should understand the fact that neglect of marriage can have very unpleasant consequences in terms of property rights and responsibilities.

The fact is that the marital property regime for spouses arises only after the marriage has been legally performed.

In the event of divorce (without a prenuptial contract), the spouses' shares in marital property are recognized by family law as equal. But property acquired in the so-called “common-law marriage” without recording a marriage in the registry office is not subject to division.

In this regard, the question arises: which of the unregistered “spouses” is the owner of the property acquired during the cohabitation period? The answer is: the one who has a registered share in the ownership of the relevant property. However, this does not mean that no one can protect their proprietary rights.

How to divide property acquired during the period of "de facto marriage" if you separate? What measures should you take to protect yourself in the future?

We can recommend taking the following steps as you spend your money while living together:

• If you are purchasing real estate, it is most reliable to title a house under the names of both partners (shared ownership). In this case, the shares can be determined in any ratio by agreement or depending on the monetary contribution of each;
• If for some reason the property is titled under the name of only one partner, the money for the purchase of housing should be withdrawn from your bank account on the day you purchase it. This way you can prove your right to a share in real estate purchased jointly;
• One should not ignore indirect evidence, for example, conversations on social networks, where there is information that housing was purchased with joint money, or a voice recording of a telephone conversation.

Despite the evidence provided, courts often refuse to divide property acquired during the cohabitation period. Unfortunately, there are no law provisions to divide such assets.

What property is recognized as common?

When dividing assets, the parties must present significant evidence that the assets were acquired jointly.
The following proven facts can serve as confirmation:
- living in one place for a long period of time;
- keeping house together;
- using the same property;
- fact the assets were acquired through common efforts. In this case, it is important to prove the amount of money spent by each party.

If we are talking about evidence, it should include witness statements, correspondence, warranty cards, or receipts.

Note that not any evidence can be accepted by the court. In order for a document to comply with the requirements of the law, it must be certified. For example, correspondence from forums or social networks must be provided in the form of a notarized screenshot.

Let us talk about the current legal practice in Russia, which is built on several basic principles:

1. Living together is not considered an absolute basis for the division of property.
2. Housekeeping by both partners does not have legally significant consequences.
3. The fact of de facto relations allows the rules relating to common (not marital) property to be applied to the assets acquired by the parties.

Is property acquired during the period of “common law marriage” generally regulated by any legal acts? The provisions of the Civil Code of the Russian Federation apply to it. For example, Art. 244 provides instructions on classifying property owned by two partners as common property. Based on this, the assets acquired by both partners are classified as shared ownership. Therefore, “spouses” need to go to court to determine their shares in property, which will allow them to protect their rights.

Even if the plaintiff states that a wedding is planned, that a marriage application has been submitted to the registry office, it must be understood that until the marriage is registered, there are no obligations between the parties.

In this regard, ex-partners often try to return what they spent by resorting to civil law. In most cases, unjust enrichment claims are filed, although sometimes ownership rights recognition claims also take place.

Need legal aid? Feel free to contact us:
Tel: +7 909 961-19-09
Visit us: Moscow, Zubovskiy bulvar, building 4/1, office 308

You might also like the articles:
Differences of marriages and divorces in Russia from those in other countries
Can you marry in Russia if one of the spouses is abroad?
Can I marry in Russia earlier than in 1 month after filing an application?
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