According to Tanya Davies Family Lawyer, the dissolution of marriage is governed by the same legal rules as those applicable to family-law relationships. Under this regulation, spouses may agree and determine the law applicable to divorce and legal separation, provided that it is one of the following:

    the law of the State in which the spouses have their habitual residence at the time the agreement is concluded, or

    the right of the spouses’ last habitual residence, insofar as one of them still resides there at the time the agreement is concluded, or

    the law of the State of which one of the spouses is a national at the time the agreement is concluded, or

    the right of the court seized.

According to the regulation, the agreement should be concluded before the referral to the court, unless the law of the state in which the court is seized otherwise allows. Under the same rule, the agreement should be notarized. In the absence of a choice by the parties, the divorce shall be settled by

    the law of the State of the spouses’ habitual residence at the time the court is seized; or, if this is not fulfilled,

    the law of the State of the spouses’ last habitual residence, provided that such residence has ended not more than one year before the court is brought, and if one of the spouses still resides in that State at the time the court is seized; or, if this is not fulfilled,

    the law of the State of which the spouses are nationals at the time the court is seized; or, if this is not fulfilled,

    the law of the State of the court seized.

Parent-child relationships

As is clear for the time being, international law applies primarily to the law of the countries to which they belong to the relationship between spouses. This is not the case for parent-child relationships – in this area, the legislation rely mainly on the child’s place of residence in order to ensure that he or she is adequately protected according to the rules of the country in which he or she lives. It is a relatively complex regulatory document, which is generally based on the Convention and the Protocol on Applicable Law on Compulsory Maintenance. The two main fields governed by the regulation should be briefly outlined: the competent court for claims for maintenance obligations and the substantive law applicable. Competent claims for maintenance in the Member States are:

    the court of the defendant’s habitual residence, or

    the court of the habitual residence of the creditor, or

    the court which, by virtue of the law of the court, has jurisdiction to hear a claim for the civil status of persons where the maintenance claim supplements that claim, unless jurisdiction is based solely on the nationality of one of the parties, or

    the court which, by virtue of the law of the court, has jurisdiction to hear a claim for parental responsibility where the claim for maintenance complements that claim, unless that jurisdiction is based solely on the nationality of one of the parties.

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