International child abduction
We talk about international child abduction when a child is unlawfully removed or kept in a country that is not their country of habitual residence.
The removal or detaining of the child is unlawful if 1) it takes place in violation of a custody right attributed to a person, institution or other body, alone or jointly, by the law of the country in which the child had their habitual residence immediately before their removal or non-return, and 2) at the time of the removal or detention, this right was effectively exercised, alone or jointly, or would have been exercised in the absence of the displacement or non-return.
International family mediation
Family mediation is a structured process in which an impartial mediator enables members of a family in crisis, usually parents, to talk about their conflict constructively. The goal is to resolve the conflict through communication and interaction and to discuss how they will continue to raise their children, in order to find solutions that work for all family members who are affected. International family mediation aims to resolve a family dispute involving at least two countries. For example, this can happen when parents separate because of a conflict and one of them moves to another country. International family mediation places the needs of children at the centre of the process. The aim is to seek solutions that can ensure the well-being of children in accordance with their rights recognised by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.
International separation and divorce
Separation or divorce proceedings are initiated in order to undo or dissolve the conjugal relationship of an international couple, under certain conditions governed by the respective national laws. Separation and divorce are usually decided by a court, but it is also possible to turn to extrajudicial procedures when the national legal order so provides.
International registered marriages and partnerships
There is a variety of family models that may regulate the personal relationship between two people, of the opposite sex or of the same sex, whenever an international element is at stake. Access to civil marriage or to institutions such as civil unions, registered partnerships or de facto unions, as well as the rights and duties which derive from them, differ according to national rules and practices.
Forced and sham marriages
A forced marriage is a marriage without consent, which infringes on the personal decision of whether or not to marry. A sham marriage is generally considered a marriage of convenience, for example for residence or financial reasons, but it can also cover up abusive or exploitative relationships and forms of human trafficking.
International parental responsibility
The concept of cross-border parental responsibility covers the rights and duties towards the child and their property and generally includes aspects such as custody and visitation rights, whenever an international element is involved. Custody concerns the education, instruction and well-being of the child, as well as the determination of their place of residence, and may be exercised jointly by the parents or only by one of them. Visitation rights include the possibility of taking the child to a place other than their usual residence for a limited period.
Cross-border Recovery of Maintenance
A maintenance obligation is the legal obligation for parents to support their children, children to support their parents or the obligation for a former spouse to support the ex-spouse financially after a separation or divorce. Public bodies can also become maintenance creditors when paying social benefits in place of maintenance.
In cross-border cases, the maintenance debtor and the creditor are located in different states. The EU Maintenance Regulation determines rules of jurisdiction (which court is going to make a decision?), rules on recognition and enforcement (how is the German decision going to be enforced in Spain or Bulgaria?) and establishes a system of administrative cooperation based on Central Authorities, whose task is to help solving cross-border maintenance conflicts.