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Recovery of alimony in Ukraine from persons living abroad

Today, international marriages have become common and not rare events. In most cases, marriage to a foreigner causes relocation abroad. It can happen that cohabitation is terminated and Ukrainian women return home to Ukraine, often they come back with children. Also, there are cases when Ukrainian men go abroad to work or study while their families remain in Ukraine, and then the men by virtue of certain circumstances break their own relationship with families and children. This state of things makes Ukrainian women to seek ways for recovery of alimony from the children`s fathers who live abroad.

Fortunately for Ukrainian women and even more for children, who find themselves in a very insecure position, the legal capacity to protect their rights has increased significantly for the last 9 years. On October 19, 2006, Ukraine ratified the Convention on the Recovery Abroad of Maintenance (New York, 1956) the aim of which is to simplify procedures for the recovery of maintenances in cases when a claimant and a maintenance payer live in different countries. This Convention was signed by over 70 countries, most of which are economically developed countries.

Till 2006, the execution of the decisions of Ukrainian national authorities on the recovery of alimony abroad was complicated. Now, the procedure for recognition and enforcement of decisions of Ukrainian courts on the territories of the signatory countries of the Convention is governed, in the absence of Ukrainian court decisions for an alimony claimant it is quite enough to submit documents to the Ministry of Justice of Ukraine. This national body is authorized state body which can redirect documents to the appropriate authority of the foreign state to address the issue of alimony to the citizen residing in its territory. According to the Convention, an alimony claimant can obtain a decision about the recovery of alimony on the basis of documents directly in the home state of the maintenance payer.

In order to implement the provision of the Convention as well as detailed explanations and procedures for recovery of alimony from persons living abroad, the Ministry of Justice has approved the Regulations on the implementation of the Convention on the Recovery Abroad of Maintenance in Ukraine (Order from December 29, 2006 №121/5). This manual, among other things, suggests that the alimony claimant can apply to the regional department of the Ministry of Justice at their place of residence to obtain a free consultation and complete information about the package of documents for the recovery of alimony from a maintenance payer in signatory countries of the Convention.

The next important international treaty is the Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Decisions Relating to Maintenance Obligations (The Hague, 1973), ratified on August 01, 2008. The Convention also allows accepting and carrying out not only court decisions but also the decisions of other competent authorities for adopted in Ukraine alimony on the territory of other signatory countries of the Convention.

In 2013, Ukraine ratified the Convention on The International Recovery of Child Support and Other Forms of Family Maintenance (The Hague, 2007), the number of participating countries were more than 70 countries of the world, including the USA and EU countries. The aim of this Convention is to replace all existing conventions aimed at the recovery of maintenance taking into account the positive experience of their application, it provides the most advanced and effective standards of previous Conventions and create universal mechanisms for recognition and enforcement of judgments, including countries with diverse legal systems. However, the process of practical implementation of the Convention in Ukraine is not complete, that is why some of the positive achievements of the Convention cannot be fully used by interested parties.

The procedure for recovery of alimony from persons living abroad consists of the following stages:

  • Filing of a claim for recovery of alimony to the competent court on the territory of Ukraine and obtaining a decision in the case.
  • After receiving a decision of the court with a note that the decision enters into force, the document about the impossibility of execution of this decision in Ukraine, the alimony claimant need to apply to the regional department of the Ministry of Justice of Ukraine according to plaintiff`s place of residence with the Declaration on the recognition and execution of the court decision in Ukraine for alimony on the territory of another country (made in any form) and the application for recognition and enforcement of alimony based on the Convention on the Recovery Abroad of Maintenance (New York, 1956) (prepared in a special form).

All subsequent operations with the competent authorities of the country of residence of the maintenance payer will solve the Ministry of Justice of Ukraine.

Another way of recovery of alimony from the person living abroad is to appeal to the Ministry of Justice of Ukraine in accordance with the Regulations (Order from December 29, 2006 №121/5) providing of the necessary documents. This way is used in the absence of Ukrainian court decision or in the case when in accordance with the legislation of the significant countries the issue of recovery of alimony is carried out at the place of residence of the defendant; it is also used in the case of the need to address changes in the size of the already established alimony. Further direction of the documents to the country of residence of the person who is a payer of alimony and informing the applicant about the progress is realized by the Ministry of Justice of Ukraine.

It is clear from the text above that the international treaties ratified by Ukraine allow solving questions of recovery of alimony regardless of nationality and place of residence of parents and children. Procedures for the collection and submission of required documents are significantly simplified, but consulting a lawyer in this matter will not be superfluous. Especially if it has some specific conditions and requires an individual approach.

Author: Kydalov Igor

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Publication Date: 28.07.2015
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