Can I protect my assets in case of divorce in Costa Rica?
QCOSTARICA – In Costa Rica, it is possible to put assets in the name of a family member to protect them in the event of divorce or separation, as long as certain legal conditions are met.
Douglas Román, director of Bufete Román y Asociados and a specialist in family law, explained this in an interview with La Republica.
Spouses can freely dispose of their assets individually, as long as there is no marital crisis. This means that the estate can be put in the name of a relative without any problem, as long as it is not done with the intention of violating the rights of the spouse, according to Article 40 of the Código de Familia (Family Code) in Costa Rica.
However, if it is done intentionally or in times of marital crisis, the “delito de simulación” (crime of simulation) could be incurred, which can bring criminal and civil consequences. Therefore, it is important to take into account that certain requirements must be met in order to do so without legal problems, explains Román.
One of the requirements is that it must be done in advance, without malicious intent and with the knowledge of the other party.
All the assets and properties that a couple has acquired during the marriage, either individually or as a couple, will be divided equally during a divorce. Inheritances and donations are not included.
All properties owned before the marriage remain the sole property of the owner. The process of dividing properties is quite simple, except for cases where a couple obtains assets and places these in the name of a corporation, where things can get more complicated.
According to data from the Registro Civil (Civil Registry), in 2022, there were 9,693 divorces, dropping 14,453 in 2021, 11,785 in 2020, 14,009 in 2019, and 11,003 in 2018.
Emotions of finances in marriage
It is important that couples before and during the marriage have assertive communication and openness to talk about the economic situation of each person as an individual, says Sarita Álvarez, a family-focused psychologist.
“It is necessary to discuss the economic issue as a couple, one sees that if the couple has difficulties talking about this issue, that tells us that this couple cannot have an opening in many other areas, we have to be able to tell each other ‘I can’t pay the rent, I’m not doing well at work’, if I can’t talk to my partner, imagine what a lot of things I can’t talk about, it’s just keeping a facade before the other, that has consequences for the family,” said Álvarez.
There will always be one who is more thrifty, another who is wasteful, one who stops spending, another who seeks balance, the important thing is to know yourself first and say how I like to manage my money and then generate commitment and responsibility together, explained the psychologist