Atlas

Hungary

Hungarian family and sucession law recognise two forms of couple's relationship:

  1. MARRIAGE (“family formation”) between persons of opposite sex,

  2. REGISTERED PARTNERSHIP between persons of the same sex.

The first and the third categories are regulated by Act V of 2013 of the Civil Code, the third category being additionally regulated by Act VI of the Civil Code. The second categoriy is regulated by the Registered Cohabitation (Partnership) Act No. XXIX on registered partnership of 2009.

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DISCRIMINATORY RULES

Fundamental law recognises the institution of marriage as the only "family formation" between persons of opposite sex. Same-sex marriages are not allowed in Hungary. De facto partners are not entitled to inherit after their partners.

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Links to applicable regulations

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MARRIAGE 

  • The default matrimonial property regime is the community of property. There are two alternative regimes: the participation in acquisitions regime and the separation of property regime. Spouses are allowed to deviate from the default and alternative property regime by their contractual freedom: spouses may enter a matrimonial agreement to define every aspect of division and management of the property.

The default legal property regime is the community of property (statutory matrimonial property regime) acquired by spouses after the marriage was concluded. This regime may be effective also retroactively, for the time of the spouses’ life partnership preceding marriage. Community of property regime lasts for the duration of their joint marital life (Arts. 4:34(2) and 4:35(1) of the Act V of 2013 on the Civil Code). It is a joint indivisible (undivided, common) property which belongs to spouses in equal parts of the corresponding property. It relates to all assets the spouses have acquired together or separately, as well as the burdens and obligations that one of them took. The exception are assets belonging to a spouse's separate property. However, if profits from separate assets were accrued during the joint marital life, they are also part of the common property. If such separate property profit required administrative or maintenance costs and charges, they are deducted from the profits.

Personal assets are individual property each spouse had acquired before the marriage, or the assets acquired in the marriage lifetime as a result of gift or succession without compensation being imposed, intellectual property, compensation for damages received for personal injury, property for personal usage (of customary value) and fruits of the property obtained through the sale of the individual property of each of the spouses. Part of the individual property acquired before the marriage are also the debts, burdens and interest. If part of individual property is in everyday usage by both spouses, it becomes a common property after spouses have been married for five years.

Spouses are allowed to deviate from the default and alternative property regime by their contractual freedom: spouses may enter a matrimonial agreement to define every aspect of division and management of the property. Matrimonial agreement is validly concluded if it has been drawn by a civil law notary in a form of an authentic instrument, or, if it is a private instrument countersigned by a lawyer (Art. 4:65(1)). If the marriage contract is concluded prior to marriage, it comes into effect upon commencement of the joint marital life of the spouses. In case the marriage contract is concluded after the conclusion of the marriage, its effects are valid as of the signature of the contact. Spouses are free to terminate or modify the marriage contract, but not to the detriment of a third party. Spouses may define several different property regimes relating to certain specific assets (depacage). The parties shall also have the option to make arrangements for the use of the common home in the marriage contract (Art. 4:78).

  • In event of a divorce or death of one of the spouses the matrimonial property is divided subject to dispositions of the marriage contract, or in its absence, by default regime. Ones the share of the surviving spouses is established, the share of the deceased spouses is divided under successions rules.

The rules applicable to intestacy govern succession are applied in the absence of a disposition of property upon death. By interstate succession the relatives (in kinship groups) and the surviving spouse or registered partner of the deceased inherit. Hungarian legal system acknowledges three types of wills: authentic wills, written private wills and oral wills. Hungarian law established a national Register of Wills. Only the wills that were drafted / modified / revoked before the public notary are enlisted to the registry.

The freedom of testamentary disposition extends to all the assets of the testator. He may freely dispose of his entire, or merely part of this property. Certain close relatives are in principle protected if a deceased would completely have left them out of inheritance. Hence, Hungarian law acknowledges a statutory arrangement of reserved share. Close relatives of the testator, in concrete a descendant, spouse and a parent may claim for a reserved share, but such a claim is subject to contract law. The statute of limitation for this claim is five years. A descendant, spouse and a parent may claim for a reserved share and if granted it is enforced towards the heirs.    

 

REGISTERED PARTNERSHIP

  • The property regime of registered partnerships correspond entirely to that of marriage.

 

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DE FACTO COHABITATION

  • The property consequences of cohabitation differ from those of marriage or registered partners. Cohabitants are considered contractual partners and their mutual property regime is regulated as such.

Partners may arrange their property relations by means of a partnership contract for the duration of their partnership. Civil code prescribes formal requirements for such a contract: it has to be executed in an authentic instrument or in a private document countersigned by an attorney. Cohabitants are free to arrange any regime otherwise applicable for married couples under a marriage contract. A partnership contract has to be recorded in the national register of partnership contracts to become effective against third parties. Absent such record, the contract is effective against the third party if the partners successfully prove the awareness of the third party of such contact and its content. In the absence of partnership contract the partners are considered independent in their property acquisitions during their cohabitation. Cohabitants acquire common property in proportion amounting to their contribution in acquiring it.

  • In event of a cohabitation breakdown, each partner may request the division of property jointly acquired during the period of cohabitation. There is no statutory provision on division on special items of property.  Property consequences such as a maintenance, may not be claimed. Neither is there a statutory rule on “protection of family home”. However, partners may enter an agreement on the further use of their common home in event of partnership termination. Formal validity of such an agreement is subject to form of either authentic instrument or a private document countersigned by an attorney.

As of 1 January 2010, cohabitants are entitled to request the registration of their partnership with a civil law notary. This registration does not create any new rights or obligations but merely facilitates proof of the existence of the partnership (Art. 36/E-36/G of Act XLV of 2008 on Certain Non-Litigious Notarial Procedures).

  • In the event of death of the party of a cohabitation there are no succession rights to the other partner.  

Based on national report provided by Mirela Župan