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EC proposes clearer property rights for international couples

The European Commission is proposing EU-wide rules to bring legal clarity to the property rights for married international couples and for registered partnerships with an international dimension.


In Europe, there are around 16 million international couples, and at least 650,000 of them every year face issues around the division of property when their marriage or partnership comes to an end.


Citizens lose time and money figuring out which law applies to their case and which court is competent to help them. Legal divergences between the 27 EU Member States create an incentive for "forum shopping" or a "rush to the court." This happens when one spouse – usually the wealthier one – rushes to a court where he/she thinks the outcome will be the most beneficial.


The two proposed Regulations would help identify which law applies to a couple's property rights in the event of divorce, and which is the responsible court. The Regulations also provide for rules for recognising and enforcing court judgments on a couple's property in all EU Member States through a single procedure.

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