European Family Law Volume II
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European Family Law Volume II

The Changing Concept of ‘Family’ and Challenges for Domestic Family Law

Edited by Jens M. Scherpe

This four-volume set maps the emerging European family law. It is intended to serve as a resource for anyone interested in this area of law, as well as a basis for teaching on comparative and international family law courses. The first volume examines the impact of institutions and organisations on European family law. While there is no European body that could actually legislate definitively on family law, there are some institutions that have a direct impact on European family law, while the impact of others is more indirect. In the second volume the changing concept of ‘family’ and challenges for domestic family law are analysed in 21 different jurisdictions, in 16 chapters. All contributions look at ‘horizontal’ family law (the law concerning the relationships between adults), ‘vertical’ family law (the law concerning the relationships of adults and children) as well an ‘individual’ family law (the law on names and gender identity). In the third volume the contributions take a comparative view on specific issues from a European perspective. The fourth volume, which works as a stand-alone monograph, draws on all of the previous chapters, and discusses the present and future of European family law. It establishes areas where ‘institutional’ European family law exists – in the sense that there are binding legal rules for all European jurisdictions – for example, as a result of a decision by the European Court of Human Rights. It also identifies areas where, as a result of common legal and social developments for ‘horizontal’, ‘vertical’ and ‘individual’ family law, an ‘organic’ European family law is emerging and suggests how family laws in Europe are going to develop in the future.
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Chapter 6: The changing concept of ‘family’ and challenges for family law in Hungary


Hungarian family law is currently regulated in an independent family act: Act No IV 1952 on marriage, family and guardianship. Beside this, other Acts and Decrees also have a profound weight, especially in the judiciary and in the practice of the guardianship authorities. Meanwhile, Act No V 2013 on the new Civil Code (the new Civil Code), was passed by Parliament in February 2013. The codification process concerning civil law, which began in 1998, started with a broad debate that also affected family law. Ultimately the belief that one Civil Code should regulate the whole field of civil law, including family law and company law, has prevailed. In the result, family law has been included in the body of the Civil Code. The new Civil Code consists of eight books of which the fourth is the Family Law Book. This signals a great change as it breaks with the former socialist countries’ approach to family law. The independence of family law was explained by the belief that personal legal relations among family members were independent of their property relations. As the new Code enters into force on 15 March 2014, the whole country, and lawyers in particular, are preparing for the application of the new rules. Unfortunately, the enacting and temporary rules remain under development and are not yet finalised. Thus, Hungarian family law is required to orient itself in two different directions as the old rules are still in force but the new ones will be applicable soon.

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