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Fifteenth state signs up to EU’s enhanced cooperation procedure on international divorce

Lithuania is the first state to join the procedure since its establishment

The European Commission has confirmed Lithuania's decision to join the enhanced cooperation procedure allowing international couples to select which country's law would apply to their divorce and legal separation. The Regulation gives couples legal certainty and prevents a "rush to court" and forum shopping in divorces, while at the same time avoiding emotionally and financially costly proceedings.

EU governments adopted the Council Decision authorising enhanced cooperation on the law applicable to divorce and legal separation in July 2010 (IP/10/917). As a consequence, the 14 participating countries (Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Luxembourg, Malta, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia and Spain) adopted a Council Regulation that contains detailed rules on the choice of the law applicable to international divorces (called Rome III Regulation). The Regulation entered into application on 21 June 2012. It has no effect on national divorce or marriage laws.

Lithuania is the first additional Member State to notify its wish to participate in this enhanced cooperation. Other Member States which wish to participate can do so at any time. The United Kingdom has not indicated any intention to join the scheme.