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Cross-Border Enforcement

If I move to a non EU country or non 1996 Hague Convention country, will the contact order be automatically enforceable in that country?

No.­ You must seek advice from a lawyer in that country who will then take whatever action is needed to obtain an order in similar terms to the order you obtained in this country or whatever is then best for the child in maintaining contact.­

If you are currently engaged in Court proceedings to obtain a Contact Order, we recommend you make provision in the Court Order for either you or the other parent to obtain a “mirror order”, an order in similar or identical terms, in the other country.­ Also register the order or ensure that the Court Order makes it clear who will pay for the Order to be registered or for a mirror order to be obtained in the other country.­ It would also be preferable for a time limit to be placed on the issuing of the relevant application in the other country and an order for the other party to cooperate with the process in order to enable it to run through smoothly.­

Before asking a Court to make such an order, take advice from a lawyer in the country where you propose to live so that the correct wording can be placed in the English Court Order.

I am not married to the child’s father. Do I need his consent before I take the child on holiday?

If the child’s father does not have Parental Responsibility, you do not normally need the father’s consent before you take the child on holiday.­ However, if the child’s father has regular contact with the child, we recommend you to inform him of your arrangements.­ This may prevent an unnecessary application by him to try and prevent your holiday.­ It can also overcome any unjustified but potentially problematical allegations of abduction.

I have a contact order made in a European Union state.­ Is it automatically recognised if I move to another European Union country?

Yes.­ Across Europe, contact orders and orders for return of a child are automatically recognised and enforceable, without the need for local or any more court orders.­ There are requirements for translations and certificates by the judge who made the order.­ It is a good idea to consult a solicitor when you arrive in the country where you will be living and to take a copy of the relevant Court contact order and certificate with you when you move.­

In any event, the consequence of the move abroad is that the contact arrangements may need to be varied.­ However this is from the starting point of the existing order.­

Other children orders such as residence orders are recognised and can be easily registered for enforcement purposes.­ In the UK, it requires “a declaration of enforceability”.­ Across many other EU countries, it is a similar registration process.­

This recognition and enforceability of children orders was extended in mid-2012 by a Hague Convention of 1996 to many other countries around the world.


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