Duncan Lewis

Immigration

Asylum, Detention/ Fast Track

Managed Migration, Public Law

I have a foreign maintenance order. How can I enforce it in the UK?

Date: (23 December 2011)    |    

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Duncan Lewis:The CSA (Child Support Agency) is the agency that deals with child maintenance when both a child and its parents are living in the UK. When one of the parents is living abroad, this can be a bit trickier but there is legislation in place to deal with cases where a maintenance order has been issued abroad. Family and childcare solicitors, such as Duncan Lewis, will be happy to give help and advice relating to this and other legal matters.

There are international agreements existing between the UK and over 100 other countries relating to child maintenance, and these are known as REMOs (Reciprocal Enforcement of Maintenance Orders).

When a REMO has been set up, it means effectively that when courts in the UK issue child maintenance orders these orders can be registered and enforced in the countries who are party to the agreement. Reciprocally, of course, it also means that when such maintenance orders have been put in place by foreign courts they can be registered here in the UK and enforced by UK courts.

There is a certain procedure for putting a REMO into place. In the UK, if you already have a court order for child maintenance you must get in touch with the court that originally set the order up. Alternatively, if you do not have a child maintenance order already in place then you should contact the local magistrates’ court about arranging one.

Which part of the UK you live in will decide on the next step in the process. If you are resident in England or Wales, the court will forward your case notes to the REMO unit, and the latter will contact and deal with the court abroad on your behalf. If you reside in Scotland, your case will be sent to the Justice Directorate if you have an existing court order. If there is not an order in place, you can apply to the local sheriff’s court or to a court in the foreign country to where your partner moved. In Scotland, you will also need to get a solicitor to handle your case.

REMOs are basically the mechanism through which a person currently resident in the UK is able to make a claim for maintenance against someone residing in another country, usually a former partner, and the matter will usually be dealt with by the courts in that country under the terms of the REMO arrangement.

The procedures that are in place to assist parents who live in the UK to enforce financial support by partners living abroad who were issued with maintenance orders there are however subject to a few limitations. For example, UK courts cannot compel foreign courts to stick to certain timeframes or to proceed in a certain manner, and not all foreign countries are party to the REMO protocol. Talk to a specialist solicitor for more information on this area.

 

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