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New European rules in matrimonial matters - proceedings concerning parental responsibility

Family law

New European rules in matrimonial matters - proceedings concerning parental responsibility

From 01.08.2022, the new EU Regulation 2019/1119 on jurisdiction, recognition and enforcement of judgments in matrimonial matters and in matters of parental responsibility and international child abduction will enter into force.

The Regulation contains new provisions on parental care, enhanced cooperation between Member States in cases of international child abduction and automatic recognition of judgments given in Member States.

The main innovations introduced by Regulation 2019/1119 include faster procedures for returning a child in cases of international child abduction, with the decision on the return of the child to be taken within six weeks of the commencement of the proceedings, and the possibility of having recourse to family mediation or other alternative dispute resolution procedures. In any proceedings concerning a decision on the child, the child's right to be heard must be guaranteed.

In matrimonial matters, the new Regulation (finally) introduces automatic recognition in other Member States of separation and/or divorce agreements concluded in one Member State, giving spouses the possibility to separate or divorce through an alternative procedure outside the court. The obstacle to the automatic recognition of so-called "private divorces" between Member States is thus removed when the agreement is registered with the authority.

As far as Italy is concerned, separation and divorce agreements concluded (after 01.08.2022) by way of the "negoziazione assistita" (simplified lawyer-assisted separation or divorce agreement) or the "separazione o divorzio dinannzi all'Ufficiale di Stato Civile" (simplified procedure (simplified procedure before the registry office) are automatically recognised in the other Member States.

For judgments and proceedings initiated before 01.08.2022, the previous Regulation 2203/2001, which regulates the same facts, continues to apply.