Marriage Contract in Ukraine: Features, Terms and Restrictions
Автор: Марина Корнієнко
Джерело: Lexology, 29 січня 2024

Marriage contracts (prenuptial agreements) are becoming more and more widespread in Ukraine. Although the percentage of couples who choose to regulate their relationship contractually remains low (less than 5%), the positive dynamics are good news.

Unfortunately, many people, including foreigners who intend to get married in Ukraine and conclude a marriage contract under Ukrainian law, do not know exactly what matters it can regulate. This article outlines these matters and gives examples of terms and conditions that cannot be included in a marriage contract.

A marriage contract in Ukraine exclusively regulates property relations. This is the biggest difference between a marriage contract governed by Ukrainian law and a marriage contract governed by the law of the United States, for instance, where the spouses can agree on their non-property rights and obligations.

Everyone has probably heard about the terms and conditions of the marriage contracts of Hollywood stars, which are uncommon in Ukraine. Unfortunately, or fortunately, marriage contracts concluded in Ukraine are much more prosaic.

It can regulate the following matters:

  • Legal status of property. Spouses can agree that the marital property regime will not apply to property acquired during marriage (marital property) (including real estate, vehicles, corporate rights and other types of property and items) and that the property purchased or registered in the name of the husband/wife will be his/her personal property
  • Legal status of property obligations, terms of the obligations assumed during marriage
  • Procedure for using the residential property privately owned by a spouse or jointly owned by the spouses
  • Procedure for contributing to and using the joint household budget, if planned
  • Procedure for using the bank accounts. The marriage contract may provide for opening of a joint account or gaining access to each other's accounts
  • Procedure for financial support of a spouse during marriage or following a divorce. The marriage contract may establish the obligations to pay a certain amount of spousal support (alimony), provide life and health insurance for the husband/wife, purchase property, or open a bank account in the name of a spouse
  • Procedure for support of common children. The parties may agree on child support as a fixed amount or as a percentage of the income of the child support payer, that is the parent who will reside separately from the child following a divorce. A marriage contract may also establish the parents' obligations to ensure that the child receives an appropriate level of education, pay fees for attending kids study clubs and sports leagues, purchase real estate for the child, open a bank deposit account in the child's name, finance the child's recreation and vacations, etc.

The list above is incomplete and, depending on the couple's individual situation, can be expanded. However, the principle stating that the scope of the marriage contract must be limited to property relations only should be followed in any case.

A marriage contract cannot regulate the following matters:

  • Personal non-property relations of spouses, such as the obligations to respect marital fidelity, adhere to a certain religion, keep the house clean, cook healthy food, send good wished to each other's relatives on holidays, or any other non-property rights and obligations.
  • Matters related to parenting, determining the place of residence of the child, rules for communication between the child and the parent living separately following a divorce, visitation schedule, assigning each parent specific dates for vacationing with the child, and any other non-property issues that may arise between the spouses in respect of their common children.

The Ukrainian laws prescribe some other mandatory rules to be observed when drafting a marriage contract. I will delve into such rules and other important details in my future articles.

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