Friday 22 September 2017

Tough new EU law to catch child payment dodgers

Dearbhail McDonald Legal Editor

ESTRANGED parents who "dodge" maintenance payments by moving to another EU state will be pursued in their new home country under new laws that come in to force today.

Justice Minister Alan Shatter yesterday signed the Maintenance Regulation which aims to provide for the effective recovery of maintenance orders within Europe.

This means that a maintenance order from an Irish court will now be enforceable by another EU court and foreign maintenance orders will be recognised here.

The move has been welcomed as a "highly significant" development by family law experts because it means that Irish judges will be applying foreign law.

"This is a zero tolerance regime for those who seek to avoid paying child maintenance," said solicitor and child law expert Geoffrey Shannon.

Mr Shannon also said that the opposition to Rome III, Europe's divorce regulations, will be more difficult to maintain in light of Ireland's adoption of the EU-wide maintenance regime.

Irish courts do not recognise foreign divorces and the Government has refused to opt in to EU regulations that will allow divorcing parties from different countries choose the country under which they would divorce.

The Irish Government consistently opted out of Rome III on the basis that it would circumvent Ireland's strict divorce regime and lead to foreign law being applied in Irish courts.

Irish Independent

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