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European Court Of Justice Considers Jurisdiction In Divorce


European Court Of Justice Considers Jurisdiction In Divorce

A ruling on jurisdiction was referred to the European Court of Justice International Divorceas a couple that had connections with several countries were involved in a complex divorce.

The case of W v X involved two multinational parents who were involved in a complex divorce. W, the father, was from Lithuania and X, the mother, was from the Netherlands but has Argentinian connections. Before moving back to the Netherlands, the couple were married in the United States. In 2006 V, there child, was born.

Soon after V was born, the family moved to Italy. V gained Italian nationality in addition to his Lithuanian citizenship. The parents separated in December 2010 after they moved to Canada. X and V moved back to Italy but were later returned to the Netherlands for legal purposes. W moved back to Lithuania after the split.

The Divorce Proceedings

X stared the divorce proceedings in the Canadian courts by gaining full custody of V. However, W had started parallel proceedings in the Lithuanian capital Vilinus. He reported that X was the fault of the split and requested primary care of V and not her. This lead to the First District Court Vilinus to grant an interim order so that V would live with while the court proceedings were going on. Despite of this, the decision was quickly overturned. W  tried to appeal but that was also a fail.

Instead, the District Court granted the mother custody but giving W visiting rights and specifying child maintenance payments for V. Nether the less, W appealed the ruling all the way to the Supreme Court of Lithuania but was unsuccessful.

Additional proceedings were heard in Dutch courts where the judges agreed with the Districts Courts. Meaning that X would still have custody of V and specified a programme of child maintenance payments.

However, the courts in Holland couldn’t recognise most of the Lithuanian divorce ruling. They accepted only the programme of contact visits drawn up by its north-eastern counterparts.

This caused the Dutch and Lithuanian court systems to go into deadlock with the former declining to enforce the decision of the latter. The Lithuanian court referred the entire case to the European Court of Justice after following a series of legal manoeuvres. This was so they could make a decision on authority and enforcement.

Justices there concluded that, under the EU Law, the jurisdiction which makes a binding ruling regarding the parent a child will live with and the financial support to be provided by the other parent, will nevertheless lose responsibility for any further decisions in the case if the child subsequently acquires habitual residence in another county.

For the full ruling of W v X, follow this link.