New EU rules on cross-border custody disputes

The European Union’s new rules on cooperation between judicial authorities on cross-border disputes, such as custody, parental rights and child abduction come into effect on August 1, the European Commission said.

The regulation updates the existing rules on jurisdiction, recognition and enforcement of decisions in matrimonial and parental responsibility matters to better protect the needs of the child, the Commission said.

European Commissioner for Justice, Didier Reynders, said:  “The new rules will simplify certain procedures and improve collaboration between the central authorities of EU countries and between the courts.

“In such difficult cases, it will help parents and children to safeguard their rights and find solutions in less costly and faster proceedings,” Reynders said.

The European Commission said that the new regulation would simplify circulation of decisions, authentic instruments and certain agreements within the EU through rules on recognition and enforcement in other EU countries.

“The new rules will oblige member states to ensure that a child can express his or her opinion in all proceedings relating to that child, such as custody and access rights, or when abducted by a parent,” the Commission said.

“The new Regulation will also reduce the length and costs of the judicial procedures, for instance, by introducing clear deadlines for the return of an abducted child and by eliminating the need for an intermediary procedure (‘exequatur’) for decisions on parental responsibility, which will now be directly enforceable,” it said.

(Photo: Jason Morrison)

Please help keep The Sofia Globe’s independent journalism alive by clicking on the orange button below and signing up to become a supporter on Becoming a patron of The Sofia Globe costs as little as three euro a month or the equivalent in other currencies.

Become a Patron!

The Sofia Globe staff

The Sofia Globe - the Sofia-based fully independent English-language news and features website, covering Bulgaria, the Balkans and the EU. Sign up to subscribe to's daily bulletin through the form on our homepage.