24 September 2019

Property regimes for International Couples: New rules to apply as of January 2019

Nowadays, more and more people cross national borders to settle in another Member State, either for work, study, etc. Therefore, it is more common to find couples formed by members of different nationalities or couples who reside away of their countries.

These international couples must manage the assets they own in common. However, until now, there was no legal framework that provided some security in this area.

On January 29, two regulations of the Council of Europe entered into force (2016/1103 and 2016/1104) that establish an enhanced cooperation on marital property regimes and property consequences of registered partnerships.

The great novelty introduced by these two regulations is the possibility for these couples to choose the rules that will govern their economic relations, beyond the law of their nationality, even if it is not the law of a member state of the European Union. However, it must be the law of the State where at least one of the spouses / members of the couple has his habitual residence, or the law of a State of nationality of any of them. They may also choose, in the case of registered unions, the law of the State under whose law the registered partnership was created.

In this way, a French couple residing in Spain could choose the Spanish Law to regulate their marital property regime.

In conclusion, with these two regulations, an attempt has been made to establish a uniform and clearer legal framework to solve the problems that usually arise among international couples regarding their economic relations.

Also, as a result of the introduction of these regulations, the work of legal advisors and Notaries becomes more important, as they have the duty to advise the members of the couple in the election of the law that is most convenient for them.

Written by

Borja

Rondán Escorial

[email protected]

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