In most circumstances, property acquired in the course of a marriage is jointly owned by both spouses. Joint spousal ownership of property has traditionally been automatically presumed by law in the absence of specific evidence to the contrary.
According to the Family Code of Ukraine, property acquired by spouses in the course of the marriage is their joint property, even if one spouse has no income for valid reasons (eg, training, housekeeping, caring for children or illness). All properties acquired during the marriage are considered joint spousal property, with the exception of property that one spouse acquires in the course of the marriage for his or her private means.
However, the latest legal opinions of the Supreme Court have abrogated the abovementioned presumption. In recent rulings (Case 6-2641??15, December 16 2015; Case 6-2333??15, November 25 2015), the Supreme Court provided guidelines whereby the courts – while still recognising the legal concept of joint spousal property – must establish not only the fact of its acquisition during the marriage, but also that the acquisition was purchased with joint funds or through the joint work of both spouses.
Thus, the Family Code provisions governing joint spousal property will be considered as correctly applied by the court where the acquisition of the relevant property meets the established criteria regarding:
- the time of purchase of the property;
- the funds used to acquire the property; and
- the purpose of acquiring the property.