Multilingual Language Translation and New International Divorce Choice Regulations in EU

We’ve blogged about legal translations of foreign prenuptial agreements. Professional multilingual legal translation and interpreting services play an important role in international divorce cases. The European Union Council recently adopted the Rome III Regulation that aims to create enhanced cooperation in the area of the law applicable to divorce and legal separation. According to the new regulations, spouses are allowed to agree to designate the applicable law to divorce and legal separation so long as the law is either:

  • The law of the State where the spouses are habitually resident at the time the agreement is concluded, or
  • The law of the State where the spouses were last habitually resident, insofar as one of them still resides there at the time the agreement is concluded, or
  • The law of the State of nationality of either spouse at the time the agreement is concluded, or
  • The law of the forum.

However, if the spouses fail to agree on a choice of law, then the law will be that of the State:

  • Where the spouses are habitually resident at the time the court is seized; or, failing that,
  • Where the spouses were last habitually resident, provided that the period of residence did not end more than one year before the court was seized, in so far as one of the spouses still resides in that State at the time the court is seized; or, failing that,
  • Of which both spouses are nationals at the time the court is seized; or, failing that,
  • Where the court is seized.

When divorcing spouses are from different countries, the issue of the language of the forum may be a deciding factor. For instance, each spouse may prefer to have the hearings conducted in their native language, as opposed to using a foreign language translation, in which case the above points will govern.

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