In Hungary the property relations of spouses who do not conclude a marriage contract are governed by the community of property regime, that is, apart from some exceptions, the spouses are presumed to acquire property evenly and assume liabilities jointly.
No such presumption as to property exists between cohabitants. They acquire common property in proportion to their contributions. Cohabitants may be persons of different or the same gender living together without any formalities, while the expression ‘registered partners’ only refers to same sex couples living in a marriage-like relationship.
The spouses or partners may arrange their property interests as they wish by marriage or partnership contracts opting out and deviating from the statutory regime. Instead of the default regime spouses or future spouses may opt for the community of accrued gains or the separation of property systems. If no marriage or partnership contract exists the statutory regime shall apply.
The purpose of registering such contracts into a national register is to facilitate proving the existence of such contracts, as the Register – until there is evidence to the contrary - shall provide authentic proof as to their existence, thus third parties may not invoke that they were unaware of the existence of such contracts. The IT system underlying the Register is operated by the Hungarian Chamber of Civil Law Notaries.
The marriage or partnership contract shall solely be deemed valid if it is executed in a notarial deed or concluded in a private document countersigned by an attorney, however it is effective as against third parties only if registered into the Register of Marriage and Partnership Contracts, or if the spouses (registered partners, cohabitants) prove that the third party was cognizant of, or should have been aware of the existence and content of such contract. Therefore the validity of the marriage or partnership contract does not rest on registration, it only has significance when it comes to effectiveness as against third parties.
An application for the registration of a marriage or partnership contract, - or the amendment, removal, termination or cessation thereof -, may be submitted to a civil law notary in person jointly. The contract or the document on its amendment, removal, termination or cessation thereof shall be attached to the application.Jurisdiction of a notary is established by the domicile or place of residence of either of the spouses/partners. The notaries in Budapest have jurisdiction throughout the capital.
The registration, or retrieval of data from the Register is free of charge.
With respect to marriage or partnership contracts queries may be made as to the existence or content of such contract.
· Inquiry on the existence of a marriage or partnership contract
Any person who can certify a possible legal interest may look into the Register and check the existence of a marriage or partnership contract in any notary office and make notes for his own purposes. For inspection it is necessary to supply the surname and first name, the surname and first name at birth, date and place of birth, mother’s maiden surname and first name of one of the parties. In the course of justifying a possible legal interest a transaction or any other reasonable cause shall be indicated which would secure the legitimate grounds for inspection.
· Inquiry on the content of a marriage or partnership contract
Information as to the contents of a contract may only be supplied by the prior written consent of one of the contracting parties, and it may exclusively be requested from the notary involved in the registration. The notary shall provide the person making a query with information on the contents of a marriage or partnership contract by issuing a certified office copy if he/she executed the contract him/herself as a notarial deed, or by preparing a certified copy if it was notarized by another notary or was executed in a private document countersigned by an attorney.
Upon request of a person included in the Register the notary shall issue a certificate to testify his recorded data, or on the contrary, for a person not registered to certify that the respective person has not been entered into the Register.