Division of property during divorce proceedings

divorce in Turkey, property division, matrimonial regimes in Turkey
divorce proceedings in Turkey

Welcome to the blog of Seyhan law office. In our previous articles we wrote about types and reasons of divorce processes in Turkey. In this article we are going to speak about divorce proceedings in Turkey, to be more precise, about the types of matrimonial regimes existing in Turkey. According to Article 202 of the Turkish Civil Code, property relations between spouses are regulated by the legal (primary)matrimonial regime. This regime is also called "participation on jointly acquired property". However, the spouses have the right to choose one of the alternative matrimonial regimes by making the prenuptial agreement:

  1. separation of assets
  2. partnership of assets

However, according to the standard practice, the majority of couples tend not to make the prenuptial agreement, this means that the division of property takes place according to the primary matrimonial regime. In this article we will discuss the features of the legal matrimonial regime. According to this regime, the assets of the spouses can be divided into two categories:

Acquired assets

  • Wages and income received from employment or professional activity of the spouses. This category may include work in the state organization, work for an employer, commercial activities of the spouse.
  • Income from intellectual property, such as license, patent or trademark.
  • Social payments.
  • income and dividends from personal property.
  • property which one of the spouses got due to the rights of inheritance or donation.
  • payments of moral compensation.
  • donations from third persons.

Personal assets

  • property that belonged to one of the spouses before marriage.
  • property which one of the spouses got due to the rights of inheritance or donation.
  • payments of moral compensation.
  • donations from third persons.

When the primary matrimonial regime ends, both spouses have equal rights to all types of jointly acquired property. The matrimonial regime is liquidated in following cases:

  1. when the spouses divorce
  2. when one of the spouses dies
  3. when the spouses want to change the matrimonial rejime.

All the assets of the spouses are considered to be jointly acquired, until proven otherwise. In this regard, when the legal matrimonial regime ends, each of the spouses must prove that certain property belongs to the category of personal assets.

According to article 178 of the Civil Code of Turkey the process on matrimonial regime liquidation must be started no later than one year after the official divorce, but on 17/04/2013 the Supreme Court has extended this term up to 10 years.

According to our experience, sometimes there are cases when one of the spouses makes an attempt to hide the assets or sell them before the process of matrimonial regime liquidation starts. To avoid this, it is necessary to start the matrimonial regime liquidation process together with the divorce process. The court can seize the assets of the spouse, so it will be no opportunity to sell them until matrimonial regime liquidation process ends.

What should the spouse do if there is an attempt of hiding the assets and the measures mentioned above haven't been taken in time?

At first it is necessary to wait until matrimonial regime liquidation process ends. After that it is possible to apply to the court for hiding the assets. If it becomes clear that the agreement of purchase and sale have been made up illegally, the deal will be cancelled.

Important issues of the property division process in case of spouse's death

  • If it is proved that the reason of divorce is adultery or attempted murder, according to the legal matrimonial regime, the court may award all rights to the aggrieved spouse.
  • As it was mentioned above, matrimonial regime ends in case one of the spouses dies. According to the civil code of Turkey, if the spouses have children and there was no prenuptial agreement, the widow is entitled to get 1/4 of the assets and the children are entitled to get 3/4 of the assets.
  • If the spouses don't have children, but the deceased spouse's parents are alive, the widow is entitled to get 1/2 of the assets, the parents are entitled to get the rest 1/2 of the assets.
  • If the spouses don't have children, but the deceased spouse has sisters/brothers and the parents have passed away, the widow is entitled to get 3/4, sisters/brothers are entitled to get 1/4.
  • If the spouses don't have children, but the deceased spouse's parents are alive, the sisters/brothers of the deceased spouse don't have inheritance rights.
  • If the spouses don't have children and the deceased spouse didn't have any other relatives, the widow is entitled to get 100% of thee assets.