This diversity can be very complicated to manage by the spouses. Also, a European Regulation was passed in order to clarify the rules applicable to the matrimonial regime of European binational spouses.
This new Regulation concerning the matrimonial regimes of the European spouses came into effect from the 29th of January 2019. It involves 18 countries of the European Union including France (Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Portugal, Slovenia and Sweden).
From now , a married couple or civil partners (in a civil partnership) of different nationalities will be subject to a new body of rules. The aim of this Regulation is to solve the difficulties encountered by European couples in their patrimonial relations. To this end the Regulation introduces new features concerning couplese who are in a registered civil partnership (I) and married couples (II).
- The civil partnership
The European Regulation provides a definition of registered civil partnerships and unifies the rules affecting jurisdiction and applicable law. The Regulation allows the couple to choose a law that will apply to the partnership established in France: this law may be the law of the couple’s habitual residence or the national law of one of the partners.
- The marriage
- Couples married before the 1st of September 1992 are governed by the Zecler judgment of 4th June 1935;
- Couples married between the 1st of September 1992 and the 28th of January 2019 remain subject to the 1978 Hague Convention regime;
- Couples married from the 29th of January 2019 will fall under to the new Regulation.
- The choice of the applicable law
Thus, the Regulation allows spouse to change the law applicable to their matrimonial regime during their marriage.
If there is no agreement concluded on the choice of applicable law, the Regulation also states presumptions of applicable legislation.
- The unity of the applicable law
- The end of the automatic mutability of the applicable law
This automatic mutability of the applicable law will no longer apply under the Regulation for spouses married after the 29th of January 2019. Thus, it is strongly recommended that spouses who are subject to the previous rules, take advantage of article 20 of the Regulation to choose the law applicable to their matrimonial regime.
For more information about the new European Legislation, please contact Damien Concé, Doctor in law : firstname.lastname@example.org