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Obama ratifies Hague Child Support Convention

9th September 2016

The outgoing President of the United States, Barack Obama, has signed the 2007 Hague Child Support and Maintenance Convention, enabling more children to receive financial support from their parents, regardless of where those parents live. It is estimated that there are one million cases of unpaid child maintenance worldwide.

This ratification has been eagerly awaited for several years and has been perceived as a breakthrough for the recognition and enforcement of maintenance around the world. Prior to the USAs signature, the only other signatory countries are the EU Member States, Norway, Ukraine, Albania, Turkey, Montenegro and Bosnia-Herzegovina. The convention has historically struggled to attract widespread support since it was initially drafted in 2007. However, the US endorsement is likely to encourage more and more signatories.

The EU Maintenance Regulation is similar to the 2007 Hague Child Support and Maintenance Convention but it also has issues with applicable law and restrictions on jurisdiction of sole domicile. It also takes priority between Member States. Following Brexit, the UK will no longer be bound by the EU Maintenance Regulation, meaning that the 2007 Hague Convention will take priority. As such, future obligations in respect of child maintenance will only be governed by the 2007 Hague Convention.

The 2007 Hague Convention simplifies accelerates and facilitates cross-border cooperation on recognition and enforcement of family maintenance. Family lawyers across the globe agree that such a convention is vitally needed to help children access to what they are entitled to, and that this breakthrough will encourage many a surge of new signatories.

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