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Reciprocal Enforcement of Maintenance Orders

A maintenance order made in one country can often be enforced against the paying party in another country under Reciprocal Enforcement of Maintenance Orders (REMO) provisions. A country which has REMO arrangements with other countries can enforce another country’s maintenance order and have an order from that country enforced overseas. The UK has REMO arrangements with over 100 countries. This means that the English Courts can be approached to enforce an order made in another country and an English order can be enforced in those countries.

A list of the countries where a UK maintenance order can be enforced can be found here:

Top Considerations when wishing to enforce a foreign maintenance order:

  1. Can the order be appealed?
  2. Do you know where the non resident parent resides?
  3. Is there an international treaty between the two countries for reciprocal enforcement?
  4. Can the arrears be calculated?

We have experience in enforcing foreign maintenance orders in England and also defending clients from such claims.

A child maintenance order can be made by the English Courts if:

  1. The non resident has an income that exceeds the CMS income threshold or certain other conditions apply
  2. The non resident parent lives abroad

Certain orders in England can also be applied for even if the child lives abroad with the resident parent.

If a Maintenance order has been made in England and needs to be enforced abroad, our child maintenance solicitors can assist in liaising with family law specialists in the foreign state.

Top Considerations when faced with a REMO application:

  1. Did the original Court have jurisdiction to make the order?
  2. Was the paying party appropriately represented (this normally means legal representation)?
  3. Can the arrears be calculated?
  4. Should some form of payment be made in advance of any final determination to protect the position on costs?
  5. Is there, or was there, a conflicting order or arrangement in place in the country in which enforcement is sought?

We also have extensive contacts with private investigators who can assist in locating the non-resident parent and/or their assets.

Child maintenance if a parent lives abroad

Recognition and Enforcement of Children Orders made outside of England

England is a signatory to multiple treaties and conventions which enable Judges in England to enforce contact Orders made abroad. This means if you have a custody Order or a contact Order, for example, you may well be able to ask a Court in England to give effect to that Order and enforce it here in England.

Whether a Judge in England can enforce a children Order made in another country, how they will do it and the tests that the Judge will apply, depend on a number of factors.

Key questions

  • Most importantly – in which country was the original Order made?
  • How was the original Order made?
  • In certain cases – was the voice of the child heard?
  • Where is the child habitually resident now?

Key considerations and steps to take

  • Always keep a copy of the original Order, the judgment and any documents filed in the original proceedings and provide these to your solicitor in England;
  • If you were provided with a certificate by your lawyer or the court in the country where the Order was made, provide this to your solicitor in England;
  • Take advice without delay from a specialist international family lawyer.

The reverse situation

What to do if you need to enforce a children Order made in England abroad?

  • You may need to get your Order apostilled or legalised;
  • You are likely to need specialist advice in the country where you wish to enforce the Order of the English Court; your specialist international family lawyer in England may be able to provide you with details of an expert.

Unlawful removal

What to do if you are a ‘left-behind parent’ and your child has been taken either to England or from England without your consent?

  • Take urgent advice from a specialist international family lawyer immediately and do not delay.

Rayden Solicitors are specialists in the field of international family law with expert knowledge and links to lawyers in many countries across the world. In any international family law enforcement case it is vital to take advice without delay and only from a specialist international family lawyer.

Key treaties and conventions

  • Brussels II Revised (the European Council Regulation on jurisdiction, the recognition and enforcement of decisions in matrimonial matters and the matters of parental responsibility, and on international child abduction) only for orders within the EU where proceedings were commenced prior to 31 December 2020;
  • 2007 Hague Convention on the International Recovery of Child Support and other forms of Family Maintenance
  • The 1996 Hague Convention on Jurisdiction, Applicable Law, Recognition, Enforcement and Co-operation in Respect of Parental Responsibility and Measures for Protection of Children;
  • The Luxembourg convention.

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