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Family in the European Union

The European Union aims to offer European citizens a place of freedom, safety, and justice without internal borders, in which the free movement of persons is, in principle, guaranteed (Article 3 (2) TEU). There are therefore many intra-European movements of people. The European Union is also an area of immigration for third-country nationals who come for professional, economic, or family reasons or who are fleeing persecution in their country of origin. Lastly, many European nationals have emigrated outside the European Union. These people may at some point find themselves confronted with problems of private international law.

Your rights

Private international law is a set of rules for determining which authority has jurisdiction in a dispute and which national law applies and for ensuring the recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments. These rules apply whenever a legal situation is characterised by an international element, that is to say a connecting factor with several countries. This platform allows you to find contacts in all areas of private international family law: international child abductions, international family mediation, international marriages, international registered partnerships, international separations and divorces, international parental responsibility, kafala system, etc.

Finding a contact

The aim of the EPAPFR is to allow anyone faced with questions relating to private international family law to find the appropriate contact/professional. This platform therefore brings together all the structures specialising in private international law offering access to legal services in the field of international family law, training and expert services (see the “map” tab and the “services” tab). This platform also offers a link to all the tools that have been developed by European, national and local institutions in the field of private international law (see the “useful links” tab). This list is intended as a useful and comprehensive reference to allow professionals to find the resources they need to answer the questions submitted to them.

EPAPFR (European Platform for Access to Personal and Family Rights) supports anyone facing difficulties related to private international family law in Europe (EU) by promoting coordination and cooperation between public and private systems providing legal and social services in Member States.

This project is co-funded by the “Justice” programme of the European Union, which is established for the period 2014-2020. The “Justice” programme co-funds actions with European added value that contribute to the further development of a European area of freedom, security and justice.

The EPAPFR project supports the implementation of European and international provisions in cross-border family matters in order to improve access to the rights of European citizens and third-country nationals moving in the European area, to promote equality between women and men in matters of personal status, to strengthen the protection of victims of domestic violence and to improve the international protection of children (unaccompanied minors, child victims of international abductions, children taken in by the kafala system, recovery of maintenance payments).

The project brings together several partners across Europe:

The project brings together professional services working as closely as possible to recipient in order to:

  • facilitate effective access to justice and rights or alternative dispute resolution methods,
  • encourage the training of practitioners,
  • encourage giving information to beneficiaries

The European Platform for Access to Personal and Family Rights (EPAPFR) aims to promote access to legal rights for everyone facing an international family dispute by promoting prevention, awareness and legal information.

This platform promotes cooperation between agencies specialising in international family law in the Member States of the European Union.

As such, the project aims to strengthen knowledge of the rules of European, international and domestic private international law and thereby fight against the “non-recourse” to rights in international family matters.

The EPAPFR aims to become a point of convergence and a resource on a Europe-wide level, in order to contribute to the construction of a common European legal culture in international family law.