Spanish family law: what are ‘private assets’?

In Spanish family law, assets that may not form part of a matrimonial ‘pot’ are known as ‘private’ assets and are not distributed on divorce.

Spanish family law

Following on from a previous article regarding Spanish family law and the division of assets upon a divorce in Spain, assets which may not form part of a matrimonial ‘pot’ are known as ‘private’. These assets belong exclusively to one or other of the spouses and is not subject to being divided upon a divorce. Private assets may include the following:

  • Those rights and assets possessed before the marriage (even where funds considered ‘common’ to both spouses are used to pay later instalments – unless the asset in question is the matrimonial home or fixtures and fittings)
  • Those rights and assets obtained during the marriage without payment e.g. inheritances or gifts to a particular spouse
  • Those rights and assets obtained through an exchange for private assets belonging to one of the spouses
  • Rights that may only be transmitted via inheritance
  • Payment for personal damages or damages to private assets
  • Clothes and personal belongings not of ‘extraordinary’ value
  • Equipment necessary for the carrying-out of a trade or profession unless these are an integral part of a common enterprise
  • Assets acquired with an initial payment by one of the spouses even though later instalments are paid using common funds


The Matrimonial Home in Spanish Family Law

The matrimonial home in Spain is a special type of asset that in certain circumstances may be treated differently from other assets. In the simple scenario where there are no children the spouses may agree in the divorce agreement to sell the property and divide the proceeds equally.

Where there are children it might be decided that the wife will stay in the family home with the children with a posterior sale and division of the proceeds. However, where there are children and no agreement between the spouses then the needs of the children become paramount when the court is considering how to deal with the main property asset.

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