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According to the European Commission’s findings, there are about 16 million couples in the EU who live in a ‘cross border situation’, meaning that they are the citizens of and/or own properties in different EU Member States. On 23 June 2016, two regulations aimed at determining the rules applicable to property regimes for married couples or registered partners in cross border situations were approved by the Members of the European Parliament. The new rules will be applicable in 18 EU Member States that joined the enhanced cooperation initiative on this matter.

The purpose of the regulations is to determine which court shall have jurisdiction and which law shall be applicable in matters of matrimonial property regimes and the property consequences of registered partnerships, as well as to facilitate the recognition and enforcement of court decisions in cross border situations. Clear rules have been laid down on applicable law in case of divorce or death, bringing broader legal certainty and ending parallel and conflicting proceedings in various Member States. The regulations do not affect the underlying institutions of marriages and partnerships, which remain matters defined by the national laws of the Member States.