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·Home >> International Treaty on Divorce

What does the new Brussels II Regulation entail?
Add Date:2009-2-22      

The new Regulation on parental responsibility :

  • extends the rules on mutual recognition and enforcement of the Brussels II Regulation to all decisions on parental responsibility,
  • reinforces the right of the child to maintain contact with both parents by ensuring that decisions on access rights are automatically recognised and enforceable in another Member State,
  • dissuades parental child abduction and reinforces the obligation of the courts to order the return of the child in cases of child abduction within the Community.

The system of recognition and enforcement of decisions found in the Brussels II Regulation applied only to a limited category of decisions on parental responsibility. For instance, it did not apply to decisions if the parents are unmarried, if the child was not common to both spouses or if the decision issued after a divorce was proceeding. In order to ensure equality for all children, the new Regulation extends the scope of application to all decisions on parental responsibility. It also puts in place common rules on jurisdiction. The main principle is that the court that is closest to the child (based in the first place on the habitual residence of the child) is competent to deal with a case of parental responsibility.

In addition, the new Regulation reinforces the right of the child to maintain contact with both parents after the parents split up or divorce also when the parents live in different Member State. To this end, the Regulation provides that decisions on access rights are automatically recognised and enforced in another Member State if certain procedural conditions are met. It will thus no longer be necessary to have the decision declared enforceable through an exequatur procedure as foreseen in the Brussels II Regulation.

Finally, the new Regulation contains certain rules on child abduction. It aims at dissuading child abduction within the Community by ensuring that the courts of the Member State of the child's residence before the abduction have the final say to decide where the child shall stay. Moreover, the Regulation complements and reinforces the system created by the The Hague Convention of 25 October 1980 on child abduction by imposing stricter obligations to assure the prompt return of a child in cases of child abduction between Member States.


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