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EULawyer
EULawyer, Lawyer
Category: European Law
Satisfied Customers: 224
Experience:  Titular Attorney (Avocat) at Ioan-Luca Vlad Law Office
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My x husband never paid child support,lives in Germany

Customer Question

I was divorced in the UK in 1994 and my x husband had a court order to pay child support of only 2,000 pounds per year( with the understanding he would have her for all school holidays) plus his daughters school fees. He is a German national and left the UK and went to live in Malaysia and the US and never paid child support and school fees for only one year. I supported my daughter and paid all schoo fees and university all by myself for all those years. My daughter is now 31 yrs old. She has a huge student loan . I did try to sue him once before several years ago and the German state decided yes he owed me but since she did not live in Germany and they did not have to pay for her they would not pursue him. We found out he has bought a property in Ireland and have an address for him in Germany. Wondering if now the laws for EEC are tighter maybe we culd bring some sort of civil suit against him for never supporting his daughter when having a court order to do so.

Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: European Law
Expert:  EULawyer replied 1 year ago.

Dear Customer,

Your case is very complicated, and I am sad that it took so long for you to find his new address and property. The main problem here is that your daughter being 31, this is 13 years beyond the point she became an adult, thus very much time after the point when money could be claimed as child support, and 7 years beyond the end of the statute of limitations, as provided by the Limitation Act 1980. To answer your question regarding EU law, it only provides procedural help, i.e. easier access to the courts and enforcement authorities of the other EU states. What it does not provide is an extension of the statute of limitations, nor alternative causes for action. In other words, the first thing to do is to ask in the UK whether you can obtain a new order for him to pay the arrears in child support. The place to do this is the Child Maintenance Service / Child Support Agency (https://www.gov.uk/child-maintenance/overview).

If you do have a new court order (not the old one, because it has been covered by limitation as well), then as any money order you may more easily enforce it anywhere in the EU because it is automatically recognized, so what you would do is go directly to an Irish bailiff / sheriff with it for enforcement against the property. But if you cannot obtain a new court order, then I am afraid you cannot do much based on the documents that you already have.

Note that the CMS / CSA does have a number of non-financial sanctions for erring parents, such as applying to take away their drivers' licence. However, they do not affect those who are neither UK citizens nor residents, because these measures are restricted to UK soil. Thus someone living abroad, as long as they avoided the UK, would not feel their effect.

Going away around the world is a time-tested way of avoiding all kinds of obligations. In theory, when he moved to Malaysia, the law says you could have gone after him there with your UK court order and have an 'exequatur' (i.e. recognition and enforcement) of the UK court order there. The fact that it would probably have been too expensive / too much of a headache is the reason why most people do not do it, and why going away is still a doable means of avoiding paying child support.

To sum up, I recommend contacting the CMS / CSA for advice on whether you can obtain a new court order for the arrears. If you can, you are in luck and can go directly to the bailiff / sheriff in Ireland, because that would be a European Money Order, and could be enforced straight away.

Please do not forget to rate my answer.

Cordially,

Dr Ioan-Luca Vlad

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Relist: Incomplete answer.
I would like a UK based lawyer to answer the question and one with several years experience. The one who answered was from Bucharest and just graduated this year. I do not think he is aware that in the UK there have this year been several cases whereby people who divorced many years ago have gone back and successfully claimed money from the former spouse , statute of limitations being not adhered to,