MARRIAGE AND PACS

Q: My Belgian partner and I (a UK national) are considering getting married or having a PACS later this year here in France. I've heard of recent law change regarding matrimonial regimes and PACS, can you explain them?

Q: My Belgian partner and I (a UK national) are considering getting married or having a PACS later this year here in France. I've heard of recent law change regarding matrimonial regimes and PACS, can you explain them?


A: Until 29 January 2019, the civil rules in France were different if you were married or if you were in a civil partnership (PACS - pacte civil de solidarité). However, as part of the drive for consistency across the EU, a new law was introduced that considerably changes the way that your
Notaire will consider your assets. The aim of this regulation is to have one law that applies to all property regardless of where it is located and to both
marriages and civil partnerships.

Previously, for couples married before 1 September 1992 the law applicable was determined by the location of the first matrimonial domicile.
Under the 1978 Hague Convention, the same rules apply with a further option for couples to choose, for their property, the law where it was situated.

The new regulation (EU 2016/1103), currently signed by 19 member states, allows couples to choose the law of either:

 one of the states of which at least one of the partners/spouses is a national or

 the law of the habitual residence of either spouse at the time of the agreement (not necessarily the marriage itself). Married couples are no longer able to partially change their matrimonial regime choose the law where the property is situated.

 for civil partnerships, the law of the state under whose law the registered partnership was created.

As regards the law applicable in the absence of a choice for marriages, this should be the spouses' first common habitual residence after the conclusion of the marriage or, failing that, of the spouses nationality at the conclusion of the marriage or, failing that, with which the spouses jointly have the closest connection at the time of the conclusion of the marriage taking account of all the circumstances.

For civil partnerships, in the absence of choice, the law applicable to the property consequences of the registered partnership is the law of the state
according to the law of which the registered partnership was created.  It is important, therefore, that any Notaire you consult understands the
implications of the new regulation should the relationship break down or when one of you dies.

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