Matrimonial Property in Europe: A Link Between Sociology and Family Law

Branka Rešetar

This article questions the justification of the system of community of property (limited and deferred) in the context of the current notion of marriage and de facto relations between spouses in Europe, with the primary goal of the community of property from the first half of the 20th century as its starting point, i.e., the correction of the de facto inequality of men and women in society.

The basic means for such correction was and still is recognizing the value of indirect contributions of spouses in the form of childrearing and housework. Accordingly, one may say that indirect contribution and its equalization with direct contribution are the common issue of a functional approach to various matrimonial property systems in Europe.

This paper provides an insight into the results of the interdisciplinary research of indirect contribution in the above legal systems as well as into the de facto division of childrearing and household duties as the main elements of the contribution. On one hand, the obtained results lead to a (re)defining of the common problem within various European systems: the de facto inequality of spouses which has been most efficiently corrected by the community of property (limited and deferred). On the other hand, new trends in the field of division of childrearing and household duties and in the field of matrimonial contracts as well as new goals of the European Union policy with respect to gender equality, influence a new vision in this matter: will the community of property become a thing of the past?


Cite as: Branka Rešetar, Matrimonial Property in Europe: A Link Between Sociology and Family Law, vol 12.3 ELECTRONIC JOURNAL OF COMPARATIVE LAW, (December 2008), <http://www.ejcl.org/123/art123-4.pdf>.

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