A Century Later than Mexicans, Cubans Will be Able to Separate Their Property When They Get Married

Photograph from February 11, 2017, during a marriage on the beach of Tarará, in Havana. (EFE)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 8 September 8 2022 — Spanish laws provide for the separation of property in marriage since 1889; Mexican laws, since 1927. With a century of delay, Cuba hopes that the new Family Code, which will be submitted to a popular referendum on September 25, will grant “greater freedom” in marriage to decide what will happen to the property, in case of divorce, separation or death of the spouses.

With the signing of a “pact,” the couple will be able to define the economic regime that they will assume once the union is legally recognized, in addition to determining which goods are their own and which are common. “This offers legal certainty, prevents future surprises and facilitates the painful moment of separation or divorce,” says an article published on Wednesday in the official newspaper Granma.

The explanations about the separation of goods are part of the national campaign that the Cuban Government is carrying out to ensure the approval of the Code. This forecast, as explained in the article, constitutes an evolutionary step with respect to current legislation.

Until now, Article 29 of the current Family Code made it mandatory to consider the resources acquired by the formal couple, exclusively, as “community property.” This obliges the spouses, in case of separation, to share their assets equally.

In 1975, when this body of law was approved, “the participation of women in paid work was negligible,” the article justifies, so the Government had to guarantee the “compulsory support of the woman after separation.”

However, the current dynamics of life as a couple make this rule anachronistic, so the new Code responds better to “the reality of litigants,” according to Guantanamo judge Yeniseis Palacio Durruthy, interviewed by Granma.

Palacio Durruthy points out that, in many cases, the rule is taken advantage of by one of the spouses to evade responsibility for the family or validate the squandering of “common heritage.”

##”It could happen that an international ’collaborator’, married and posted in another country on a mission, had left his partner at home,” but on his return, the wife had squandered his property, forcing him, by divorce, to give her even the profits of his “mission,” the judge alleges.

Another verified case, according to Palacio Durruthy, is the citizens who have been out of Cuba for a long time, “without taking direct care of the family or the home,” and whom the law must oblige to “share or compensate their spouse for the time they spent caring for the common goods.”

The new Family Code, he says, intends to break that “legal bond” and resolve any possibility of dispute even before signing the marriage certificate. If approved, the couple may go to a notary and opt for a “mixed regime” or a “separation of property.”

In any case, this would not be an obligation of citizens but “a right that is exercised or not, at will,” clarifies Dairon Lorenzo Salazar Caramanzana, a specialist in Criminal Law of Collective Law Firms in Guantánamo.

In addition to redefining the economic regime of the couple, Granma concludes, the new Family Code will offer possibilities for greater consensus of the couple regarding the order of the children’s surnames*, their religious affiliation and family coexistence.

*Translator’s note: Traditionally, Cuban children carry both parents’ surnames, with the father’s name first, a practice common throughout Mexico and Central and South America.

Translated by Regina Anavy


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