What do I need to have a Spanish decision on family matters enforced in another European Union country?

It is increasingly common to seek out the best family lawyers in Barcelona in Barcelona in order to ask questions related to very specific family situations that are particularly complex. One key question today is

knowing what to do in order to have a Spanish decision on family matters enforced in another European Union (EU) country, or conversely, a decision from another EU country enforced in Spain.

Knowing this can be very useful in cases such as international divorces in Spain in which one of the spouses is of foreign origin and is going to live in their country of origin following the dissolution of the marriage, in this case an EU country, taking their children without the consent of their spouse, for example. Or, in the case of a spouse who, following an international divorce processed in another EU country, decides to move to Spain with the children.

In these cases, we must focus on Council Regulation (EC) No 2201/2003 of 27 November 2003, whose objective is to unify the legal space of the various EU countries with regard to family law.

Application for a declaration of enforceability


The first thing that must be done for a decision from another Member State to be enforced is to apply for a declaration of enforceability. In this sense, we should know that decisions issued in an EU country regarding the exercise of parental responsibility must also be declared enforceable in the country in which enforcement is going to be requested.

This application will be submitted to one of the courts indicated on the list communicated by the Member State in question to the Commission and published in the Official Journal of the European Union.

From there, local jurisdiction will be determined based on the place of habitual residence of the person against whom enforcement is requested, or when appropriate, based on the place where the child or children in question live.

The applicant must choose an address to receive notifications within the jurisdiction of the court that will be hearing the enforceability request. If an address isn’t chosen, a representative ad litem must be assigned.

When the decision on the application arrives, which generally happens in a short period of time, it can be appealed by either party.

At ICN LEGAL, we are lawyers and former judges specializing in family law who can answer all of your questions related to the international sphere.

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