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The new global Convention on the International Recovery of Child Support and other Forms of Family Maintenance was finalised in The Hague on 23 November. The Convention aims to resolve the problems of unpaid or uncollectible child support.
Unpaid child support as well as support of other dependant family members amounts to billions of Euros worldwide. When the person liable for support lives abroad, the difficulties of recovery are often insurmountable. Until now, international procedures were typically slow, complicated, costly, under-utilized, and simply not serving the needs of children and other family dependants.
Delegates from 68 States, the European Community, and other organizations represented by, in total, 268 experts, attended the Diplomatic Session on the International Recovery of Child Support & other Forms of Family Maintenance from 5 November to 23 November 2007. The Final Act of the Session was signed by 68 States and the European Community in the presence of representatives from the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ambassadors of Member States and other Diplomatic Representatives.
The major features of the new Convention are:
A broadly based system for the recognition and enforcement of maintenance decisions made in Contracting States combined with expedited procedures.
A system of co-operation between Central Authorities in each country to facilitate the processing of international applications.
The provision for maintenance applicants of virtually cost-free services, including when needed free legal assistance in all the Contracting States.
An obligation to provide prompt and effective measures to enforce support orders coming from other countries.
The new Convention will complement the existing Hague Children's Conventions, especially the 1996 Child Protection Convention which contains rules on contact between parent and child a subject closely related to the issue of child support.