New Regulation on Divorce for International Couples

Saldžios skyrybos: „skyrybų tortai“
Saldžios skyrybos: „skyrybų tortai“

What the members of the European Union are looking for is to help couples of different nationalities and to give them legal certainty.

The reason is that divorces in the EU raise 1 million of which 13 percent are related with cross-border marriages.

Some 14 countries have adopted the decision. These countries are Belgium, Bulgaria, Germany, Spain, France, Italy, Latvia, Luxembourg, Hungary, Malta, Austria, Portugal, Romania and Slovenia (yes, Estonia is not among them, you did not miss it).

The new legislation is going to affect only to the cross-border marriages to give to the international couples the possibility to select which law will govern the divorce, provided than one spouse has to have connection with the country.

For example, a Spanish-Estonian couple living in France could ask to a French court to apply Spanish or Estonian law.


If there is not agreement about which law they will use, a court will decide for the couple.

As they are going to have more flexibility and certainty, this one is supposed to become a way to protect children from long and complicated procedures.

Also, this new law looks for help women to not to be at a disadvantage.

Current situation

Te idea of a new legislation dates 2006, but only 10 countries supported it and have been trying to develop it till nowadays.

The situation right now is not easy and quite expensive. If a cross-border couple wants to divorce there are two options:

  • If they live in Denmark, Latvia, Ireland, Cyprus, Finland, Sweden and UK, the countries where they are will apply their laws.

  • In the rest of the EU countries, each country will decide which law is better in each situation depending on different factors, like, for example, a long-term residence.

Viviane Reding, Vicepresident and Commissioner for Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizanship, said in Brussels that "I have no doubt that this precedent will deepen European integration. Hundreds of thousands of international couples will benefit from the new rules."