On 1 August 2022, EU Regulation 2019/1111 of 25 June 2019 on jurisdiction, the recognition and enforcement of decisions in matrimonial matters and the matters of parental responsibility, and on international child abduction (recast) came into effect. The Regulation sets out the rules governing the jurisdiction, recognition and enforcement of matrimonial and parental responsibility orders in the EU in respect of legal proceedings that start after 1 August 2022 and agreements made after that date.
The regulation applies to civil matters of:
- legal separation;
- marriage annulment;
- parental responsibility (attributing, exercising, delegating, restricting or terminating), in particular:
- custody and access rights;
- guardianship, curatorship and similar institutions;
- children in institutional or foster care;
- protecting children in relation to their personal property.
It must be noted that maintenance obligations are excluded from the regulation’s scope.
In a cross-border context, the regulation provides for:
- harmonised rules on jurisdiction in matters of divorce, legal separation and marriage annulment;
- harmonised rules on jurisdiction in parental-responsibility disputes such as custody, access rights or placement of a child in another EU country;
- improved return procedure in cases of child abduction by introducing clear deadlines so that cases can be settled quickly; courts of first and second instance will have to give their decisions within 6 weeks;
- promoting mediation;
- children being given the opportunity to be heard in the proceedings concerning them;
- eliminating the need for an intermediary procedure (‘exequatur’) for decisions on parental responsibility, saving time and expense for individuals;
- clearer rules about placing children in another EU country, including the need for consent in all situations, except where a child is to be placed with a parent;
- more effective implementation of decisions, introducing possible grounds for suspending or refusing enforcement;
- simplified circulation of decisions, authentic instruments and certain agreements within the EU through rules on recognition and enforcement in other EU countries;
- better collaboration between the central authorities of the different EU countries and between the courts, while respecting the rights of the parties and confidentiality.
The best interests of the child remain the primary consideration, in accordance with Article 24 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child of 20 November 1989, as implemented by national law and procedure.
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