International maintenance recovery>
International maintenance recovery
The number of cross border families in the Western Countries is increasing constantly.
People travel across different jurisdictions more, international marriages are on the rise, and individuals have interests abroad or finally relocate to the country of their dreams. According to EUROSTAT, the statistical office of the European Union, 31.9 million foreign citizens lived in the EU-27 in 2009, comprising 6.4 percent of the total EU-27 population.
About one-third, or 11.9 million, were citizens of another EU-27 Member State. Many forms of cross-border movement within this area remain uncounted by official statistics. European citizens cross the borders unregistered, often remain essentially invisible in their destination countries, and may be counted differently depending on their countries of origin and destination.
When things go well, the life of the expats may be looked at with rose tinted glasses.
But sometimes these families may split and their members return to their native countries. This is sad; but when one of the two is not fulfilling their obligations as maintenance, sadness may easily turn into big trouble.
However the recovery of maintenance money in recent times is not such a nightmare any longer.
The big divide is between the EU Citizens and the non EU Citizens.
The “Maintenance Regulation” applicable in the European Union (except for Denmark) as of 18 June 2011 introduces a new area of cross-border maintenance recovery inside the European Union. This regulation includes besides jurisdictional rules, provisions simplifying and accelerating recognition and enforcement, applicable law rules and it introduces a system of Central Authority co-operation as well as extensive legal aid provisions. In short, the Maintenance Regulation constitutes a major improvement for those seeking the cross-border recovery of maintenance.
On a global level, it is the recently adopted 2007 Hague Convention which holds the promise of a new area of cross-border recovery of maintenance, particularly in regard to child support, on a global level through the introduction of simplified, swift, accessible and cost effective procedures. Together with the new Hague Convention, the Members of the Hague Conference adopted a new global applicable law instrument: the 2007 Hague Protocol.
From a practical point of view, the Europeans can apply for a recovery from a EU Country without moving from their Country of residency, without even hiring a lawyer and taking advantage from the numerous provisions for legal aid as expressed by the EU Regulation. Normally the assistance of a private lawyer will speed up things (true life experience) but it’s not essential.
As to the rest of the Non-EU world the Hague Protocol will be applicable. As every other international convention this is applicable only to the Countries who not only did sign it, but also have ratified this instrument. This is not the case of the United States as of yet.
For the Citizens of those Governments who have not yet enforced neither of the above said instruments, the situation is a bit more complicated and may require the recognition of the foreign decision -divorce or order of support that it may be- through the Local Courts. In this case the help of a Lawyer is essential.
The matter is evolving continuously: the needs of cross-border families are at the heart of modern social life.
Marco Calabrese, International Divorce Lawyer in Rome – Founder of Angloitalianlaw