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I do...but hold on a minute

I just got a call from a young French woman. She told me she was getting married in Finland. Further she told me that she had learned that when getting married in Finland, she and her spouse will get marital right to the other spouse's assets, in accordance with Finnish law. I confirmed that this was correct. I also told her that marital right includes any and all assets regardless of where these assets are located in the world.

We had a short discussion, after which she asked me to draw up a prenuptial agreement. I will draft the prenuptial agreement after having finished this blog about prenuptial agreements in Finland.

A prenuptial agreement is a contract drawn up before the wedding (pre wedding). However, if the contract or agreement is drawn up after the wedding it is referred to as post-nuptial agreement (post wedding) or simply a marriage contract.

I wish all people were as smart as my French client, and by that I mean that she set aside the romance for a few minutes to investigate what legal implications the marriage will have. When people get married they tend to spend more time discussing the flower arrangements and guest lists, rather than what legal implications the marriage will have. Perhaps it is understandable, since discussing death and divorce is not the most romantic topic, but still very relevant when deciding to marry. It is a fact that 40-55 % of all marriages in Finland and the other Nordic countries end in divorce. A marriage can also end by the death of one spouse.

The implications of marriage vary from one country to another. Therefore it's important to remember to have your current agreements checked by a lawyer specialized in family law if you move to another country during your marriage. In Finland, marital right to the other spouse's property means that in the division of property, both spouses have the right to obtain half of their remaining combined property. By drawing up a prenuptial agreement it is possible to exclude all or a share of one's property from becoming marital property in case of death, divorce or both.

A post-nuptial agreement can be drawn up at any time during the marriage, but once a spouse has died or the divorce application has been submitted, it is too late to register a marriage contract i.e. it will not become valid. You can send the prenuptial agreement for registration one month before the day of the wedding at the earliest. However, the agreement will only be registered on the day of the wedding. Once the prenuptial agreement is drawn up it must be signed and witnessed by two witnesses. The final step is the registration. The agreement becomes valid when registered with the Digital and Population Data Services Agency. The registration fee currently is 70 €.

Thanks to automized processes it has never been easier and more cost effective to draft a marriage contract at Familja. So if you are thinking about marriage, divorce or perhaps you already have a prenuptial agreement, but it feels outdated there really is no reason why you should not contact Familja to conclude an agreement, change or terminate the existing agreement.

A prenuptial agreement is a commonly used tool in inheritance planning, and termination of an existing agreement might become relevant after a long and happy marriage as a part of your inheritance planning.


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