International Divorce

New EU rules on international divorce

International Divorce

Council Regulation (EU) No. 1259/2010 on divorce and legal separation will be enforced from June 21, 2012. This Regulation should create a clear legal framework in the area of the law applicable to divorce and legal separation when the spouses have different nationalities. The main innovation of this Regulation is the possibility for the spouses to choose, by agreement, the national law applicable to their divorce, provided that it is linked to the nationality of either spouse or the actual couple's residence. This novelty prevents that a spouse seeks divorce before the other one to ensure that the proceeding will be governed by the most favorable law to him. In the absence of any agreement, the law of the State where the spouses established their habitual residence will apply. These rules apply only in cases of divorce or separation. In fact they don't govern recognition, validity or cancellation of a marriage, for which EC Regulation No. 2201/2003 remains in force.
The Regulation will apply only in 14 EU member states, because it is an Enhanced Co-operation agreement. The countries are: Italy, France, Spain, Germany, Austria, Luxembourg, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Slovenia, Belgium, Latvia, Malta and Portugal, while Finland and Cyprus are next to participate.

By Mr. Luca Santaniello
Lawyer at Santaniello & Partners

Published on 13 February 2012