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European couples are changing, but their need for legal certainty is not

More and more Europeans are living outside their country of origin. Many international couples have assets – such as property or bank accounts – in several countries. They face legal uncertainty and extra costs if they have to divide their assets in the case of divorce, separation or death.It may be difficult for them to know which jurisdictions and laws are relevant to their situation and property.

The European Union has taken up these issues with the adoption of European Regulations 2016/1103 on matrimonial property regimes and 2016/1104 on the property consequences of registered partnerships. These regulations are applied in the framework of an enhanced cooperation procedure currently involving 18 Member States: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden. The conflict-of-law rules are now unified between the Member States participating in the enhanced cooperation to determine the applicable law and to determine the competent court that will rule on the division of assets in the event of, inter alia, separation of the couple or death.

The Notaries of Europe also contribute to legal certainty with the “Couples in Europe” website “couples in europe” This website gives an overview of the law in the 28 Member States and provides answers to legal questions that any couple in the EU might have.

What are the consequences of divorce or separation in terms of our matrimonial property regime? Which law is applicable to a couple’s property? What does the law provide for the property of registered and non-registered partners? What are the consequences of death in terms of our matrimonial property regime? These are some of the questions that you can find the answer to on the www.coupleseurope.eu website, available in 21 languages. The content is regularly updated to reflect European and national legislative developments.

www.coupleseurope.eu, the website for all couples in Europe.

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