Press Release

Cross-border divorces: focus on the interest of the child

Strasbourg
, 18.01.2018 - 11:27
Kids

“Besides placement in a foster family or care institution, judges should have the possibility to entrust a child to other members of the family or relatives with whom a child has established relations. Siblings should not be divided. In cases where a child is entrusted to a foster family abroad, Member States should provide for continuity in the child's upbringing and in his or her ethnic, religious, cultural and linguistic background. The parents should be allowed to visit their child on a regular basis. These are among the main changes proposed by the European Parliament to the Brussels IIa Regulation which sets the rules on jurisdiction, the recognition and enforcement of decisions in matrimonial matters, matters of parental responsibility, and on international child abduction”, explained Tadeusz Zwiefka MEP, Vice-Chairman of the EPP Group and author of the Report.

The Regulation sets the procedural rules in cases such as entrusting custody of a child when parents separate or divorce, contacts with a child, appointing persons or institutions responsible for the child's property and representing him/her, and placing a child in a foster family or in a care institution. It also regulates the proceedings in the case of child abduction by one of the parents. The Regulation applies to international couples or couples who live in a different Member State than their own.

“The key issue of the proposed changes is to allow the child to express his or her views when he/she is the subject of a dispute between the parents. The courts will be free to decide whether or not the child should be heard, but any decision not to hear the child in a trial must be duly justified. We also propose to establish a general guideline for the hearing: it should be conducted without any pressure from the interested parties, under conditions which take into account the child’s age, maturity, language etc, so as to guarantee the emotional integrity and the best of the child's well-being”, continued Zwiefka.

In cases of parental abductions, the Rapporteur subscribed to the European Commission’s initial proposals to shorten the time of proceedings. “In cases where a child is abducted by one of his or her parents to a different country, the Member State will have a maximum of 18 weeks to pass judgment: this means 6 weeks to gather and exchange information between the authorities involved and the court, 6 weeks to work on the case and 6 weeks for a potential appeal, which is allowed only once. There is also a limit of 6 weeks for an enforcement of the decision in another Member State”, stressed Zwiefka.

“All changes proposed by the Parliament insist on the individual approach to each case and focus on the child’s best interest. Judges should have access, in the shortest possible time, to full information about the child and people requesting to take care of the child. The adequate institutions in each Member State have a duty to provide such information. Only then will it be possible to establish what is best for the child after the collapse of the parents’ relationship”, he concluded.

The European Parliament is giving its opinion today on the issue. The Council will have its final say in the unanimity procedure.

Note to Editors
The EPP Group is the largest political group in the European Parliament with 217 Members from 27 Member States

MEP Contacts

-
Tadeusz ZWIEFKA
STR - Phone: +33 (0)3 88 175258 Fax: +33 (0)3 88 179258
Email: tadeusz.zwiefka@europarl.europa.eu

Press Contacts

Marek Hannibal
Press Officer on Euronest Parliamentary Assembly, Legal Affairs and Czech Media, Canada Delegation
Phone: +32 475 753 048

Latest

photo of the students in a classroom
22.10.2018 - 19:01

Erasmus+: EPP Group proposes concrete steps for programme

Today, the European Parliament’s (EP) Culture and Education Committee presented its draft Report on the Erasmus+ Programme authored by Milan...
two police officers doing a traffic control
22.10.2018 - 15:33

New Schengen Information System will track criminals and illegally-staying persons regardless of national borders

How can we effectively find criminals and terrorists in a Union without internal border checks? How are we able to enforce our rules and decisions on...
Esther Herranz García MEP and Nuno Melo MEP
18.10.2018 - 17:50

EPP Group promotes the role of youth in European agriculture

The EPP Group organised its fifth Congress of Young Farmers today to boost the role of young people in this crucial sector for Europe and to promote...
EPP Group highlights the EU’s long-term need for young farmers
18.10.2018 - 17:00

EPP Group highlights the EU’s long-term need for young farmers

The EPP Group held its fifth European Congress of Young Farmers in the European Parliament in Brussels. The number of young people taking up...

Highlights of the week

22.10.2018 - 26.10.2018
Border Entry / Exit signage between UK and France

Schengen Information System

The European Parliament will vote on Thursday on its final approval of the improved Schengen Information System (SIS) which locates wanted persons...
Discarded and polluting plastic garbage on sand

Reducing plastic waste

The EPP Group is in favour of new rules to reduce plastic pollution in Europe. The rules will be voted on in the European Parliament on Wednesday....
Young woman drinking glass of water

Safer drinking water for all

We want everyone to have access to quality water that is affordable and safe. On Tuesday, MEPs will approve changes to the new law on water safety...
Believe in People campaign; young girl with Joanna Skrzydlewska