(Family Division, Parker J, 24 June 2013)
The Italian husband and wife lived in London with their two children during their marriage. When the marriage broke down the husband petitioned for separation in Milan. The wife meanwhile applied for child support from the Child Support Agency and issued an application for periodical payments, a lump sum and a transfer of property.
The CSA made a determination of what the husband should pay just one month before the court in Milan granted an order on the husband's petition. The husband applied for a stay of the wife's application on the basis that the Milan order created a binding declaration in respect of child maintenance and therefore the Italian court was already seized of that issue.
Parker J accepted that the Milan order constituted a determination on jurisdiction in respect of child maintenance. The wife's application, particularly in relation to interim maintenance, had inherent difficulties which would not necessarily be overcome. There were numerous ways in which the Italian and English court could potentially come into conflict in their rulings and, therefore, in these circumstances, a stay would be ordered. The wife had failed to establish jurisdiction.