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Cross-border parental responsibility conflicts: a call for simpler and less costly procedures

The PACE Social Affairs Committee today called on European governments to make the enforcement of parental responsibility decisions abroad “simpler, speedier and less costly”.

The committee highlighted the fact that more and more of Europe's couples are bi-national. The often already difficult situation regarding the sharing of parental responsibility following a break-up is “further complicated by different national legal systems, cultures and expectations, and can lead to cross-border parental responsibility conflicts and even child abductions”. The geographical scope of the key legal instruments remains limited, and they are not always properly applied.

In unanimously adopting a draft resolution on the basis of a report written by Martine Mergen (Luxembourg, EPP/CD), the Assembly members called on member states to widen the geographical scope of the key international legal instruments, “ensure their proper application in all countries bound by them” and to streamline the processing of cases of child abduction/retention in the context of cross-border parental responsibility conflicts, including by limiting the number of appeals possible.

The text also states that it is essential to guarantee that the views of the child/ren concerned are “heard and taken into account in an adequate manner in all cases” and to encourage recourse to properly and internationally recognised mediation services and agreements in cross-border parental responsibility conflicts.

The draft resolution will be put to a vote by the Parliamentary Assembly at its next Standing Committee meeting in Copenhagen, 24 November 2017.