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Family Law

When the Brexit transition period comes to an end on 31 December 2020 certain family law disputes will be affected including divorce recognition, custody, and access to children.

If you are, or will be involved in a family law dispute with someone living in Britain or Northern Ireland, or involving a British or Northern Irish court, consider discussing with your lawyer how the withdrawal of the UK from the EU may impact upon your particular case.

You can find more information below on certain issues. However, because of the sensitivity and variety of family law cases, this information is of a general nature only


Maintenance Cooperation

If you have a child support or family maintenance arrangement with someone who is living in Britain or Northern Ireland, mechanisms are in place to allow cooperation to continue.

 

What this means:

If you are in receipt of maintenance prior to the end of the Brexit transition period because of a judgment given in a British or Northern Irish court your situation will not change.

If you have made an application through the Department of Justice Central Authority for a maintenance decision or for enforcement of a decision which is in the UK system prior to 1 January it will continue to be dealt with on the basis of the current arrangements.

If you make an application through the Central Authority for recognition and enforcement of a decision in Britain or Northern Ireland after Brexit there may be a small delay in processing your application but co-operation mechanisms will be in place to deal with your case.


Recognition of divorces obtained in the UK

When the Brexit transition period ends the UK will no longer be covered by EU laws relating to matrimonial matters. 

 

What this means:

Legislation will deal with issues arising in relation to recognition of UK divorces, legal separations and marriage annulments. The Withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union (Consequential Provisions) Bill 2020 which is currently progressing through the legislative process includes provisions to ensure that the recognition in Ireland of divorces, legal separations and marriage annulments granted in the UK after EU legislation in this area came into operation on 1 March 2001 will continue to be on the basis of habitual residence, rather than the domicile requirement which applies to divorces granted in non-EU states.


Parental Responsibility

When the Brexit transition period ends, the UK will no longer be covered by EU laws relating to issues of parental responsibility.

This could have an impact on things like applications for rights of access, co-operation requests in relation to the obtaining of social reports, the placement of a child in another jurisdiction and the transfer of jurisdiction between courts for Britain and Northern Ireland.

 

What this means:

While EU laws will no longer apply, there are still provisions in place to ensure parental responsibility issues can be addressed.

For the purposes of parental responsibility the UK will be considered in the same way as countries such as Australia and New Zealand.

This means cases involving the UK concerning parental responsibility, and measures for the protection of children, will be governed by the Hague Convention on Jurisdiction, Applicable Law, Recognition, Enforcement and Co-operation in Respect of Parental Responsibility and Measures for the Protection of Children 1996.

Detailed information on the convention and other parental responsibility issues


Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction

When the Brexit transition period ends, the UK will no longer be covered by EU laws relating to international child abduction.

While EU laws will no longer apply, there are still provisions in place to ensure child abduction cases can be addressed relating to Britain and Northern Ireland.

 

What this means:

When the UK ceases to be a member of the EU it will be considered in the same way as the USA, Australia and New Zealand when it comes to child abduction cases. 

The relevant instrument for cases with Britain and Northern Ireland concerning the civil aspects of international child abductions will be the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction 1980

There are provisions in this Convention which can be used instead of the EU Regulations currently in use with UK cases