Matrimonial Regimes and Property Division in Turkey

Turkish Civil Code accepts four different regime types which are applicable at the end of the marriage. Three of them are optional and one of them is the legal regime of Turkish system. Current TR Civil Code numbered as 4721, which is in force since 2002 accepts the regime of “Participation in Acquired Properties” as the legal regime and Property Division in Turkey, Shared Property Division and Joint Property Sharing as the optional regime types.

The spouses can choose the regime type by signing an agreement in this regard at any time. However, it is not possible to have an unlimited right to freedom of contract since the spouses may only choose one of the regime types which are stipulated by the civil code.

For the marriages established before 2002, former legal regime which is Property Division would be applicable. Which means, upon divorce, each spouse would receive the property that is belonged to him/her solely or registered under her/his sole name.

According to the regime of Participation in Acquired Properties, each spouse has equal rights on each property which is acquired during the marriage and it does not matter whether one of the spouses is registered as sole owner. However, all properties owned before the marriage shall remain as belonged to the said spouse because these are accepted as Personal Properties that is not subject to sharing. Furthermore, the following items are also listed at Article 220 of TR Civil Code as personal properties therefore outside the sharing since they are also considered as personal assets even if acquired during the marriage:

1- Properties that are solely allocated for the personal usage of the spouse

2- All assets acquired through inheritance right or by way of other donation

3- Compensation claims against damages for pain and suffer

4- Assets replacing personal properties

A matrimonial regime could end due to reasons like annulment of marriage, divorce, death of one of the spouses or another regime type to be chosen by the spouses.

In case the regime ends due to reasons such as divorce or death of a spouse, the liquidation process should be initiated and the equalization process may be required.

If one of the spouses dies during the marriage;

1- First of all, the matrimonial regime should be determined as per TR Civil Code. If there is no specific agreement, the personal and acquired properties should be separated and the acquired properties are to be shared equally.

2- After that, legal share of deceased spouse from acquired properties and his/her personal properties are included to the Estate Assets which is then to be distributed to the inheritors as in accordance with their legal shares.