Married Couples in Indonesia Need to Pay Attention to Contract signed After Marriage

Getting marry is going to be the best decision you'll ever made. It is a simple decision with the a future lying ahead of you. They said the marriage is the foundation to everything in your life, among other, property. Both husband and wife are to have joint property ownership after the marriage, if they did not sign anything like a prenuptial agreement. Sometime, you don't get one just because you thought you did not need one. But now, the Constitutional Court revised the Article 29 (1) of the Marriage Law that the marital agreement may be entered as well during the course of marriage. The verdict number 69/PUU-XII/2015 officially created a postnuptial agreement on October 27, 2016 as one of the legal instrument in management of your assets in the marriage. Now, you can have one when you feel you need one.

The ideas behind this decision to officially allow the postnuptial agreement for married couples were to create separation of property and assets between husband and wife. Their separate assets are protected. No drama in fighting for property division. The same idea also applicable to debts. Husband and wife shall responsible for debts they created. The postnup therefore shall create separation of liability during the course of marriage. Furthermore, no consent is required from each of the party in the marriage in the event they want to sell their own separate assets. As for loan application with the bank, neither party is required to obtain consent from their spouse in putting their separate assets as a mortgage. In view of the above, the court wants both parties are totally independent in managing their assets. This is a fine legal reasoning. The Constitutional Court, they keep-up with the contemporary developments within the society in Indonesia. Awesome!

The validity of the postnup shall be initiated as soon as you’ve signed it. It is applicable since you entered it, and it is advisable not retroactively backward. It is applicable on actual date. This is to avoid any conflict of interests with any third party, because since the marriage date the couple might have been created jointly owned marital assets. It is very difficult to differentiate which property belongs to separate or joint property. You may potentially jeopardize the third party’s interests such as banks, and other investors in your marital assets. If you should retroactively draw the postnup back to the marriage date, at least you need to have the properties included into the exhibit and make sure they are mortgage-free. Apart from the ones listed in the exhibit, they belong to both of them. The couple is to have equal shares. This will also include the creditor(s) having a portion in the unlisted properties for the part that a mortgage has been put under. You may want to contact me here to discuss any further about this matter. At Wijaya & Co, we always pay attention to details of our client’s case. 

The postnup created under the verdict from the Constitutional Court has potential challengeable issues. The verdict put a notary as the party that legalize the postnup. According to the civil law procedures doctrines, this is not a proper ruling. They put the role of a notary to substitute the authority of a judge. You see, having a prenup and not having a prenup is a big deal, because it creates a property separation during the course of marriage. This situation is full of potential issues because when you're having a property, whether you like it or not, it involves other third party(ies) too, not just you and your spouse. The other third party such as bank as the lender if the property under mortgage, the government through the BPN (Badan Pertanahan National/National Land Registry), and other party that may have interest in your assets acquired during the marriage. At Wijaya & Co., we always pay attention to our clients' details and therefore issues are identified before they become potential hiccoughs. 

By having a notary legalizes a postnup, they are driven to declare some new legal situation. Last time I checked, this is the domain of a court through their legal instruments i.e. court decree. They called it a Declaratory Verdict. It creates a new legal facts, a new situation. For instance, declaring from joint property ownership to separation of ownership. As far as I concern, the court have a very established sets of law in civil procedures. Before finally reaching the verdict, the court must conduct a cross examination. This is a very important phase in civil legal system. If you were not happy with the verdict, you may file an appeal to the higher court within 14 (fourteen) days since the date the verdict reached. If there was nothing within that set of time-frame, the court finds that you are happy with the verdict, and everybody can get on with their lives. Your Indonesian attorney may proceed to draft a postnup for you.

You can't have those situations if a notary is to legalise the postnup. The convert from joint property to separate property, is not legally assessed with substantial rule of evidence, like the one they're doing it at a court proceeding. If one of the spouses was not happy, or seek any potential leeway that may benefit them in a divorce case, they might want to revoke the prenup. I would say they may be able to do that. Therefore, the postnup as its final outcome, is challengeable, and may be voidable. I would suggest you should consider it with full discretion. If your situation is full with substantial marital property, you should decide if any further reasonable action may be taken to secure your interests. Please contact me should you wish to discuss any further about this.

 

Our thanks to Mr. Asep Wijaya of Wijaya & Co for sharing this article!

About the Blog

Welcome to my blog! My name is Asep Wijaya. I am an attorney. I love what I do, I do what I love: being a lawyer. I am passionate about my work. I am always looking for some solutions to come up with for any legal problems of my clients. This blog is about my passion to the works I have been doing regarding legal issues in family and matrimonial law. Postnuptial agreement is one of the solutions available for married couple to proactively address their concerns.

People write postnup for so many reasons. Not only because they don’t have a prenup in the first place, but the idea of having a property separation contract during the course of marriage will enable them to keep up with the issues in their marriage. Over the passage of time, the relationship can often change in many unpredictable ways.

In Indonesia, people know more about prenups than postnups. Maybe because postnups are often held up to greater scrutiny in court, or maybe because prenups literally governed by the Marriage Law. Well, seeing is believing. Those things make postnups are not so popular. They keep to themselves. They mean you no harm. On the other hand, more and more people come to the conclusion that a postnuptial agreement is a necessity. Keep reading this blog, and I will make you believe in the postnups as well as you believe in the prenups.

Asep Wijaya

Asep Wijaya is a family attorney in Indonesia. He works with international clients exclusively for civil cases involving more than one legal system.