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Prenuptial Agreement in Indonesia

Thursday, 03 September 2009
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A Guide to Incorporate a Prenuptial Agreement in Indonesia Most people think of marriage as the ultimate emotional and spiritual bond. They are looking to a life of happiness. However, when faced with negotiating a premarital agreement, they realize that not only do they have to decide what will happen to them when they divorce or die, but thay they also have to negotiate these issues with their fiance(e). It's just not what people are thinking about when they are getting married. If you are foreign nationality and plan to marry an Indonesian spouse, you need to get a prenuptial agreement PRIOR to marriage. Considering foreigners are not allowed to have a property in Indonesia, and if you wish to take the quite sensible precaution of a prenuptial agreement for the purpose of protecting yourself and your properties in the event that one of you dies, a prenuptial agreement is a must-have choice. The Agrarian Law stipulates that foreigner is not allowed to own property in Indonesia, and Indonesian who married to the foreigner will be precluded to own free-title property. The agrarian law refers to Indonesia's Marriage Law assuming joint property ownership in the marriage. Prenuptial agreement concerning separation of property in the marriage is the most possible solution to get around the issue. The Indonesian government can, by law, take virtually everything away from the grieving party because they did not create such a protective document PRIOR to marriage. To avoid this trouble, it would be prudent to draft a prenuptial agreement complying with the Indonesian laws to ensure that your financial interest(s) will be up-held by the Indonesia court. As one of the Indonesian legal services working for family law cases, especially mixed-marriage cases, we will walk you through the proper procedures how the prenuptial agreement incorporated in Indonesia.Legal AspectsThe 1974 Indonesian Marriage Law has a very simple provision of prenuptial agreement compared to the ancient Dutch Law, Civil Code. The law governing the prenuptial agreement only consist of one article. It stipulates that the agreement should be made prior to marriage. The agreement should be legalized by the marriage registry office. Civil Registry Office for Non-Moslem, and Office of Religious Affairs for Moslem.Both parties are free to determine the form of law, as long as abiding the law, religion, and moral consideration. The provision are indeed very general. The legislatures seem to let it so in order to make it flexible with the development of the religion, moral, and public order.Other provision stipulates that the agreement can not be amended during marriage, except upon approval of both parties and do not cause disavantage to any third party.Person in Need of a PrenupConsider a prenuptial agreement if you suit with at least one of the following conditions: Person of foreign nationality wishing to marry to an Indonesian partner and wish to own property in Indonesia; Person who is bringing a lot of assets to the partnership, including all retirement account; Person who has his or her own business or is a partner in a company; Person on a fast career track who is likely to earn a hefty salary in the future; Person who has children from a prior marriage; Person who is paying for his or her spouse to get an advanced degree likely to result in significant future earnings. Making a PrenupIndonesian laws does not provide ready-made frameworks for prenuptial agreement. You and your Indonesian lawyer have more leeway to define your future legal relationship, although you are bound by law, religion, moral, and public order consideration in drafing the agreement.Indonesian prenuptial agreement must be tailored to the particular needs of the spouses and sufficiently flexible to take into account changes in your future circumstances during the course of marriage.Begining by collecting all the things you want to be included in the prenuptial agreement. Ask your Indonesian lawyer to draft the agreement and request for recommedation. But you need to take a note that the marriage property will be under your Indonesian spouse's name. Once again, foreigners of are not allowed to own a property in Indonesia. You just need to specify percentage of the property each spouse will get if the marriage was dissolved. Include in the agreement full disclosure of all assets and liabilities, including the value of each asset. Make sure that the terms of the agreement do not promote dissolution.Keep all drafts of the documents by email so that there is  a record that you have reviewed every draft. Keep all the drafts, correspondence, and notes so that the file reflects the negotiations and the various resulting revisions. Name and number the drafts in consecutive order such as "draft number three". This record will be very helpful is the agreement is later contested.   After negotiating the agreement, make sure you understand its terms and the importance of abiding by them. An agreement followed by both parties is more likely to stand the test of time. Avoid commingling assets and to keep careful records. A qualified accountant and bookkeeper can assist you. Even if the agreement is set aside or revoked, careful bookkeeping will make it easier for the court to trace and will save you lots of money.   At Wijaya & Co, we provide client with prenuptial agreement questionnaire. The main purpose of this questionnaire is to gather facts and obtain client’s input on issues that should be incorporated into a prenuptial agreement. The questionnaire consists of the issues that should be considered when you enter into a prenuptial agreement. Some of you might not be ready to discuss every issue that listed on the questionnaire. Therefore, it is OK if you want the agreement is to be silent on the subject. When you are ready, the two of may sit down together, once again, to discuss the silent part(s). Legalized and Record the Agreement There are two registrations required for a prenuptial agreement. A premarital agreement must be recorded with the registrar’s office of the local district court, and marriage registry. The agreement will take effect for the husband and wife when the marriage recorded at the Civil Registry or the Office of Religious Affairs and shall take effect against third parties upon the date of registration with the local district court where the marriage will take place. If the agreement is not recorded at the local district court, then the marriage will be considered as if there is no prenuptial agreement exists. Thus, your marriage will have joint-ownership in property. This is the same as if you don’t have a prenup.   Death to Either Party If your Indonesian spouse pass-away, you will have to transfer the property within one year. Transferring the property can be either sell it to other Indonesian or pass it to your children. Under 2006 Citizenship Law, children born into mixed-marriage will entitle to dual-citizenship. They can keep the two citizenships until the age of 18 years plus another 3 years to choose one. In the event they did not choose Indonesian citizenship; they will be treated as foreigner and therefore will not be able to hold the property any further. On the other hand, if the foreign spouse pass-away, the Indonesian can keep the property for good. Updating the PrenupIt is important to understand the need to keep the agreement up-to date. Agreement should be designed to accommodate the passage of time and changes in  status, such as the birth of children, and increase or decrease in wealth, or the disability of either party. Since no agreement can take into account all possible eventualities, however, you need to review the agreement periodically, with an Indonesian lawyer, to keep it current.Disclaimer:The above is provided for informational purposes only and is NOT to be relied upon as legal advice. This information is not a substitute for the advice of an attorney and should not be construed as a solicitation. No attorney-client relationship is established by use of information found anywhere in this article nor in this website.

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