On Wednesday 21 November the European Commission confirmed that Lithuania would be joining the Rome III Regulation, which establishes enhanced cooperation in the area of the law applicable to divorce and legal separation.
Lithuania has thus become the 15th Member State to take part in this enhanced cooperation, alongside Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Luxembourg, Malta, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia and Spain.
The Rome III Regulation allows couples to choose the national law applicable in the case of divorces involving spouses of different nationalities, spouses who live in different countries or couples living together in a country other than their country of origin. For example, a Franco-German couple living in Belgium could choose which law – French, German or Belgian – would apply if they were to divorce.
The rules also stipulate which law is applicable if the spouses cannot reach an agreement, thereby preventing a rush to the most favourable legislation ("forum shopping"). If the spouses do not agree, they have four options: the law of their habitual residence at the time the agreement is concluded, the law of their most recent habitual residence, the law of the country of nationality of either of the spouses, or the law of the country where the court is seized.