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MEPs consider children in international divorce cases

The European Parliament has proposed that experienced family law judges be given responsibility for dealing with cases involving child abduction between member states.

This would help to ensure the process of recovery remains focused on the best interests of the child, MEPs believe.

In addition, they suggest, children should be given a greater say in divorce cases, with the right to express an opinion without coming under inappropriate pressure.

During the debate which preceded the vote, MEPs noted that there are around 16 million families in the EU with members in or connections to more than one state. Every year approximately 140,000 of these divorce and as many 1,800 children are abducted.

Polish MEP Tadeusz Zwiefka insisted:

“The child is the weakest link in disputes between parents and therefore needs all the protection we can give. Notably, the hearing of the child is a key issue which merits detailed provisions.”

Thirdly, the MEPs want more information sharing between the judiciaries in each member state in cases involving child abduction from one country into another.

The bundle of measures was voted for by an overwhelming 562 votes to 16, with 43 abstentions. They will now proceed to the European Council for further consideration.

The blog team at Stowe is a group of writers based across our family law offices who share their advice on the wellbeing and emotional aspects of divorce or separation from personal experience. As well as pieces from our family law solicitors, guest contributors also regularly contribute to share their knowledge.

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  1. H says:

    This should have been the case sooner. In 2006 the Freshfields pro bono made some very good suggestions for the future, but it never happened.
    I worked with MOJ in Madrid, meeting one of their top law writers.
    Too late for us and my grandchild, we will see what comes of it.

  2. Moraigh says:

    My daughter is currently going through family court and her husband wants to take their 5 year old to Australia and Papua New Guinea ( his father is from there and mother Australian) its very frightening to think he could be allowed and I would have thought common sense would say no at this age however it appears there is a chance he will be allowed.

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