Couples in Europe

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Couples in Europe

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

More and more Europeans are living outside their country of origin. According to statistics from the European Commission, there are now around 16 million international couples in the EU. Of the 2.4 marriages that took place in 2007, 13% (310 000) had an international element. Similarly, 41 000 of the 211 000 partnerships registered in the EU in 2007 had an international aspect.

Many of these 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 is currently extremely difficult for them to be sure of which court has jurisdiction and what law is applicable to their situation and their property. Rules vary widely between countries, and may conflict with each other. It is estimated that parallel legal proceedings in different countries, the complexity of matters and the resulting legal fees cost EUR 1.1 billion per year.

The law for couples in the 28 EU countries:

The Notaries of Europe are well aware of this growing problem for EU citizens. That is why we created This website gives an overview of the law in the 27 EU 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 website.

We provide information in 21 languages, covering all the EU countries. The information is updated regularly to reflect changes in EU and national law., the site for all couples in Europe

Press Releases

  • - Matrimonial Property Regimes and Property Consequences of Registered Partnerships: More Legal Certainty for 16 Million International Couples in Europe

  • - The law for couples in the 27 EU countries

Media Files