Leaving the EU: What does this mean for family law? Many international families are concerned they’ll lose access to justice.
When did the UK leave the EU
Friday 31st January 2020, at 11pm.
What about my child support, my divorce proceedings
Are you concerned:
- your maintenance or child support will stop, or
- divorce proceedings will go off the rails, or
- children will be at a greater risk of abduction?
The answer is that all EU rules are staying firmly in place during the implementation period. So there’s really nothing to worry about – at least until the end of 2020.
How long is the implementation period
1st February 2020 to 31st December 2020. The Government will negotiate our future relationship – including whether useful EU family law rules will continue – during this period.
What are the useful EU family law rules
- ‘first past the post’ rule for starting divorces
- recognition and enforcement of maintenance orders, and the recognition of divorces
- enforcement of contact and residence orders, and orders for the return of children
‘First past the post’ rule for starting divorces
Why is this important? Because otherwise there could be proceedings going on at the same time in two different countries.
Is family law near the top of the agenda
The Government is already working on an important piece of legislation: the Private International Law (Implementation of Agreements) Bill. This means international families will have access to justice under certain vital Hague Conventions. The Government is also aiming for us to sign up to the Lugano Convention.
What’s the Private International Law (Implementation of Agreements) Bill
The aim of this bill is to ensure three vital Hague Conventions will still apply even after the end of the implementation period.
Which Hague Conventions are covered
The Private International Law (Implementation of Agreements) Bill covers:
- 1996 Hague Convention – protection of children in cross-border disputes.
- 2005 Hague Convention – ensures:
- there’s no confusion about where a case should be heard, and
- any resulting decision is recognised and enforced in other countries.
- 2007 Hague Convention – the international recovery of child support. And makes it harder for parents who live abroad to avoid their maintenance obligations.
See page 28 of The Queen’s Speech of December 2019.
See my comments about these Hague Conventions in Brexit, Divorce and Family Law – what if there’s no deal. In this blog I make the point that we will still need to incorporate EU regulations into our family law system – we can’t just rely on Hague Conventions.
What’s the Lugano Convention
The Ministry of Justice reports that there is support for the UK to join the Lugano Convention. Why is this important? The Ministry of Justice says:
‘The agreement protects the rights of 17,000 UK nationals living in the EEA EFTA states and 15,000 EEA EFTA nationals living in the UK, ensuring that at the end of the transition period they will be able to enjoy broadly the same rights as they do now.’
But the Lugano Convention is by no means perfect. See my explanation of the Lugano Convention in Brexit White Paper – what you need to know.
What are the EEA EFTA states
Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland, and the EU.
Leaving the EU: What does this mean for family law
Contact Family Lawyer Joanne Houston on 01962 217640 for an initial consultation on Leaving the EU: What does this mean for family law? In this 20 minute session she will review your situation and how you can achieve your objectives.
The topics covered in this blog post Leaving the EU: What does this mean for family law? are complex. They are provided for general guidance only. If any of the circumstances mentioned in this blog apply to you, seek expert legal advice.
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