Marriage and Matrimonial Regimes in Mauritius

In the Republic of Mauritius, the age at which a person can civilly marry is 18 years but however a minor over 16 years but still under 18 years old can contract a civil marriage with the consent of his parent(s). Publication of the proposed civil marriage should be made 10 days before the proposed date of marriage at the Civil Status Office of the locality within the district where the marriage is to take place. Two witnesses are required to be present for the civil marriage ceremony.

Documents to be produced:

  • Birth Certificate issued within the last three months;
  • Divorce documents, if applicable;
  • Certificate of citizenship, if applicable;
  • Death/marriage certificate(s) if widow/widower;and
  • National Identity Card 

It has to be noted that if a non-citizen is marrying a Mauritian National then the civil marriage can only take place at the Central Civil Status Office of Port-Louis and also the non-citizen should be physically present in Mauritius 7 days before the proposed publication of marriage. The civil marriage then shall take place 10 days after the date of publication.

Documents to be produced by the non-citizen:

  • Passport;
  • Birth certificates;
  • Divorce documents if applicable;
  • A certificate or certificates issued by the competent authorities or his/her country of residence attesting that he/she is of good character and is not the suspect in relation to any pending criminal proceedings, investigation or process. However, in case his/her country does not issue certificates of good character, the non-citizen can produce instead an affidavit certifying to the matters as specific above, sworn and duly authenticated in accordance with the law of his/her country of residence;
  • An affidavit sworn before the Master and Registrar of the Supreme Court of Mauritius, as well as a certificate from his/her country of residence, attesting that he/she is in gainful employment or, alternatively, has sufficient means to maintain himself/herself; and
  • Medical certificate attesting that he/she is not suffering from any infections or contagious disease. 

Matrimonial Regimes in Mauritius

There are three types of matrimonial regimes in Mauritius which are namely:

  1. The system of legal community of goods and property;
  2. The system of legal separation of goods; and
  3. A marriage settlement embodied in a notarial deed(most commonly known as a prenup contract or marriage contract).

It should be noted that when a matrimonial regime has been chosen, it is only after five years that the spouses will be able to modify or change the matrimonial regime provided certain conditions are followed.


The system of legal community of goods and property

The system of legal community of goods and property applies by default, in the absence of a marriage contract or if the spouses have not chosen the system of legal separation of goods to govern their marriage. Important features that should be borne in mind for this regime are as follows:-

  • there is a distinction between a "common pool of assets" and assets that each spouse was already owner before marriage;
  • the "common pool of assets" in simple terms can be defined as all asset classes that have been acquired during marriage and this "common pool of assets" belongs to both spouses in a state of indivision and on the other hand all assets that were owned by each spouse is considered as their personal property;

The system of legal separation of goods and property.

For this marriage regime to apply the spouses should expressly ask the civil status officer to have them married under this regime. The most important feature of this regime is that each assets owned by the spouses remain their personal property disregard of whether it was acquired before or during the marriage.


A marriage settlement in a notarial deed (marriage contract)

This regime is most frequently used for spouses who wish to have specific clauses that will govern their marriage in the form of a contract. The most simplistic of these contacts will list down an inventory of all the premarital assets that in the event of a divorce will remain the property of their original owner.

It has to be noted that having a pre-nuptial agreement is not only for the HNWIs (High Net Worth Individuals) or is in a way an indication of a lack of trust but instead a long term estate planning. This regime will most commonly apply where there are business interests involved, a large estate to administer or an investment portfolio and income is generated.It is always a good practice to consult a legal practitioner before choosing any of the regimes above.

***This article serve as a brief overview of matrimonial regimes and for more information, professional advice should be sought.