The European Union signed yesterday a new international convention making it harder for absentee parents to escape child support payments.
The Hague Maintenance Convention agreement sets up “a worldwide system for recovering child support and other family maintenance payments”, also providing for free legal aid in international child support cases, the EU said.
It extends beyond the external borders of its 27 states, home to half a billion people, the broad thrust of internal EU rules on recognising and enforcing maintenance decisions, which will apply from June 18 this year.
“The EU’s signing of this international convention will ensure that children receive the same protection if a parent moves outside the EU,” said justice commissioner Viviane Reding in a statement.
The decision has still to be ratified and will not acquire legal force until 2013.
The United States, Norway and Ukraine have already signed the convention. Others including Japan, China, Russia, Australia, Canada and Brazil are expected to do so, the EU said.