Briefing 
 

Clarifying property rules for 16 million international couples 

If an international couple divorces, which country’s courts should settle its property disputes? MEPs will debate Wednesday and vote Thursday on new rules for deciding which country’s judge hears international divorce or death cases. These rules should end parallel proceedings – costing around €1.1bn annually – in various member states whose courts have to settle such property disputes. They would apply in 18 EU countries which were willing to join this “enhanced cooperation” initiative.

The two regulations, one on matrimonial property regimes and one on property consequences of registered partnerships, would determine which court will have jurisdiction and which law will be applicable in procedures concerning the property of international couples. They would also facilitate the recognition and enforcement of a judgment given in one member state on property matters in another member state.


Background information

 

According to the European Commission, there are an estimated 16 million international couples in the EU.

 

The eighteen member states participating in the enhanced cooperation are Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Germany, Greece, Spain, France, Croatia, Italia, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Austria, Portugal, Slovenia, Finland and Sweden. Other member states are free to join at any time after its adoption. Estonia, for example, has announced its intention to take part in the cooperation after its adoption. 

 

On 7 June 2016 the European Parliament gave its consent to this enhanced cooperation which can now go ahead in accordance with the consultation procedure.

Procedure: Consultation

 2016/0059(CNS) and  2016/0060(CNS)

Debate: Wednesday, 22 June

Vote: Thursday, 23 June

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