|14 EU States Ready to Align Divorce Rules For âInternational Couplesâ|
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EU Justice Ministers are expected to endorse a mechanism for enhanced cooperation, introduced in principle as part of the Lisbon Treaty on 3 December, 2010. Under enhanced cooperation a group of member states can adopt laws that apply only to the group and not the entire EU.
Fourteen states are expected to introduce common rules to determine which domestic law should apply to the divorce of international couples. The states forming the group are: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Luxembourg, Malta, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia and Spain.
Where one spouse of a divorcing couple has a connection with one of the listed countries, the couple would be able to decide which country's laws should apply to their divorce. For example, a Spanish-Italian couple living in Belgium could ask an Belgian court to apply Spanish or Italian law. Courts would have a common formula for deciding which country's law applies when couples could not agree themselves.
Couples would also be able to agree which law would apply to their divorce even when they do not plan to separate. This is intended to give them more legal certainty, predictability and flexibility and would help to protect spouses and their children from complicated, drawn-out and painful procedures.
The United Kingdom has indicated that it will opt out of this cooperation agreement.
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Published on our website on Nov.30, 2010