Contributed By Baker McKenzie S.A.S.
The general rule for marital property is the community of property regime, which automatically comes into effect for all marriages and remains so until the community of property is dissolved.
In this regime, community property is commonly owned by the spouses. It is not similar to co-ownership because the spouses (joint owners) do not possess a share in the property but are owners of the community property.
Colombian law also recognises 'common law' unions under 'de facto' marital union provisions. Opposite or same-sex couples that have cohabited together for at least two continuous years may request the declaration of existence of a de facto marital union. This declaration implies the presumption of the existence of a community of property regime (as applicable to married couples) and leads to the distribution of the common property. This declaration is made before a judge or by mutual consent of the couple before a notary public or duly authorised conciliation centre.
Upon the death of one of the spouses, the 'marital portion' of the estate is assigned by law to the surviving spouse or permanent partner lacking the means for a congruent subsistence. Taking into account the existence of any legitimate descendants, the widower or widow will be included among the children and receive as a marital portion a share equivalent to the portioncorresponding to the legitimate share of the descendants.
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