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Fifteenth country signs up to international couples Regulation

Lithuania is the 15th EU Member State to sign up to enhanced cooperation rules to help international couples.

The Regulation allows international couples to select which country's law would apply to their divorce and legal separation, and therefore 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. The Regulation has no effect on national divorce or marriage laws.

The 14 countries that originally signed up to the Regulation are Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Luxembourg, Malta, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia and Spain. Other Member States that want to participate can do so at any time.

Figures from the EU show that there were more than one million divorces in the 27 Member States in 2007, of which 140,000 (13%) had an "international" element.

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