The property of spouses in Bosnia and Herzegovina may be marital property or separate property. The Family Law of the Federation of BiH regulates what belongs to the marital property, and that is the property that the spouses acquired through work during the marital union, as well as the income from that property. Gifts of third parties made during the marital union (in money, items, assistance through work, etc.) constitute the marital property, regardless of which spouse received them, unless otherwise arising from the purpose of the gift or the circumstances in the moment of giving the gift, it can be concluded that the donor wanted to make the gift only to one of the spouses.
Property acquired through a lifetime maintenance contract is also considered marital property, regardless of the fact that one spouse is the provider of support, if the lifetime maintenance contract is concluded with the recipient of support during the marriage. (Judgment of the Supreme Court of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina No: 58 0 P 065705 16 Rev dated April 26, 2018).
Gains from games of chance as well as intellectual property income generated during the marital union are also considered marital property.
The division of marital property usually occurs after divorce or when initiating divorce proceedings, although it is possible to divide it during the marital / extramarital union.
Marital property and its ratios in the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina
Spouses are co-owners in equal shares of the marital property unless otherwise agreed. Therefore, it is possible to regulate the marital property on a voluntary basis through a marriage contract and a prenuptial agreement.
If one spouse is registered in the land register as the owner of the property, the other spouse may request a correction of the entry, in accordance with the Law on Land Registry of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Consensual division of property acquired during the marriage (marital property)
The spouses may conclude an Agreement on the Division of Marital Property, stipulating the consensual division of the property they jointly acquired during the marriage. This agreement must be concluded in the form of a notarized contract. If the spouses do not conclude the agreement, the division of the marital property will be made by the court at the request of the spouses / extramarital partners.
Property relations of extramarital partners
An extramarital union, in the sense of the of the Family Law of the Federation of BiH , is a union of life of a woman and a man who are not married or in an extramarital union with another person, lasting at least three years or less if a joint child was born in it. Property acquired by extramarital partners through work in an extramarital union that meets the conditions referred to in Article 3 of this Law shall be considered their extramarital property.
Division of marital property in the Brcko District of Bosnia and Herzegovina
In the Brcko District of BiH, the legislation is the same as in the Federation of BiH regarding the division of property acquired during the marital / extramarital union.
Division of joint property of spouses in the entity of the Republic of Srpska, Bosnia and Herzegovina:
In the entity of the Republic of Srpska, the division of property acquired through marriage is different from that defined in the Federation of BiH, and the same is prescribed by the Family Law of the Republic of Srpska:
“Each spouse may request that the court determine a larger share of his or her share of the joint property if he or she proves that his or her contribution to the acquisition of the joint property is clearly greater than the contribution of the other spouse.”
In cases from the previous paragraph, the court determines the size of the spouse’s share according to his or her contribution to the acquisition of joint property, taking into account not only the personal income and earnings of each spouse, but also the assistance of one spouse to another, household and family work, care for the upbringing and raising of children, as well as for any other type of work and cooperation in the management, maintenance and increase of joint property.
Spouses may divide the joint property by agreement by determining shares of the entire property or one part of the property or on a particular item, as well as that each spouse obtains certain items or rights from that property, or that one spouse pays the other the monetary value of his or her share.
The amount of the spouse’s share in the property that is mostly acquired in the marital union will not be affected by the fact that the other spouse increased that property after the dissolution of the marital union, if his or her behaviour prevented the spouse’s participation in further acquisition.
A spouse who through his or her work during the marital union has contributed to maintaining and increasing the separate property of the other spouse (e.g. by improving agricultural property, etc.) may file a lawsuit demanding that the other spouse give him or her appropriate monetary compensation.
A spouse whose share in the acquisition of joint property or certain items from the joint property is significantly lower than the share of the other spouse, or when justified by special circumstances, may file a lawsuit for division of joint property and that the court oblige the other spouse to reimburse him or her the equivalent of his or her share, in proportion to the value of the joint property on the day of the judgment.
When dividing the joint property, at the request of the spouse, those items from the joint property that are used to perform his or her profession will be included in his or her share.
In addition to his or her share, those items acquired through work during the marital union that serve exclusively his or her personal use will be separated from the joint property and handed over to the spouse.
If the value of the items is disproportionally high in relation to the value of the entire joint property, the division of these items will also take place, unless the spouse who should receive these things reimburses the other spouse the appropriate value or assigns to the other spouse, with his or her consent, other items.
The spouse to whom the joint children are entrusted for protection and upbringing is given, in addition to his or her share, also items that serve only the children or are intended only for their direct use. In the division of joint property, the spouse to whom the joint children are entrusted for protection and upbringing will be given those items that are obviously in the interest of being in the possession and ownership of the spouse to whom the children are entrusted.
Division of joint debts in the entity of the Republic of Srpska, Bosnia and Herzegovina:
In the division of joint property, each spouse will be credited with a proportionate value of what is owed on the basis of joint acquisition in marriage. Debts will also include claims of third parties that arose in order to increase or maintain the existing joint property, and these claims are charged only to one spouse against the other.
If the sale of items from the joint property is determined in the enforcement procedure in order to settle the share of one spouse, that spouse has the right to preemptive purchase of those items.
Judicial division of property acquired during the marriage in Bosnia and Herzegovina:
When spouses / extramarital partners cannot agree on the division of property acquired during the marriage, the division of marital property will be made by the court in court proceedings at the proposal of one of the spouses / extramarital partners. During the court proceedings, it is necessary to determine which of the property belongs to the property acquired during the marriage. In the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, not more can be demanded than prescribed by law, so that the shares are equal, while in the entity of the Republic of Srpska, the spouse who believes he or she has a larger share in the jointly acquired property must prove that in court. When it is not possible to make a physical division of property acquired during the marriage because, for example, it is one apartment, the court sale of the apartment is ordered, and the money from the sale is divided into equal shares.
You can see the case law of Bosnia and Herzegovina in the field of division of property acquired in marriage at the link: Division of marital property in Bosnia and Herzegovina.