(Prospect) Janine De Giovanni: When love and culture clash

Posted by Kendall Harmon

With more freedom of movement across Europe, there has been a steady rise in cross-border marriages...—and consequently, divorces. There are around 350,000 cross-border marriages and 170,000 cross-border divorces in the EU each year—in 2007, 19,500 divorces involved Britons, the highest number after Germany (34,000) and France (20,500). This is leading more lawyers to advise couples who do not share the same passport to consider what they are getting into and to do their legal research before the ceremony.

“I advise everyone to think carefully, that this is not about getting on a plane and drinking good wine,” says Charlotte Butruille-Cardew, a Paris-based family law specialist with an international clientele (she is married to an Englishman herself). “I often tell them to write out before what they expect if things break down—financial, in terms of childcare, in terms of residence.” It is not the most romantic arrangement in the world, but “it will save a lot of heartbreak in the long run.”

It does not help that EU laws lack harmony. For example, barely half of member states honour prenuptial agreements: France, Sweden and Spain do and so may England in future in some cases, following a landmark judgment in October. There is no maintenance for divorced women in Denmark and Sweden. In France, even if a woman has been out of employment for years, she is expected to get back to work after her divorce and support herself.

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Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesMarriage & FamilyReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryEurope

Posted December 23, 2010 at 6:06 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]
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