International maintenance issues

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On 20 December 2012 new rules came in to force that have a far-reaching impact on the way maintenance disputes with international dimensions are dealt with and enforced.

This has a significant impact for parties where one parent is (or is planning to be) overseas.

Often the existing arrangements are based on an informal or Child Support Agency calculation. Once abroad the Child Support Agency do not have jurisdiction to pursue or enforce child maintenance for or against a parent, as both parents must reside in this jurisdiction (or be employed by a company registered here).

In this situation if child maintenance is not being paid it is necessary to obtain a court order in the county the child is resident, and then enforcing this. The new rules (and forms prepared by the Permanent Bureau of the Hague Convention) provide global uniformity for establishing and enforcing maintenance payments.

This is a complex and technical area of law that requires specialist legal advice. If you are about to emigrate, or a parent of your child is about to, seek advice as soon as possible to ensure matters are dealt with prior to departure where possible.