Monthly Archives: March 2012


Ecuador: Family Law


US Department of State’s 2005 Report on Compliance with the Hague

Ecuador’s performance in implementing the Hague Convention was previously cited as “noncompliant” due to the lack of a functioning Central Authority and lack of progress in resolving cases.  The Government of Ecuador abolished its Central Authority in April 2003 and has still not appointed a new office to function as the Central Authority to fulfill its responsibilities under the Hague Convention, despite several requests from U.S. officials.


The Assistant Secretary for Consular Affairs raised this concern in meetings in Quito in September 2004.  The U.S. Embassy in Quito has repeatedly discussed this with the Ecuadorian officials and in Washington, the Office of Children’s Issues has discussed the matter with officials from the Embassy of Ecuador.

Left-behind parents can still file Hague applications directly with Ecuadorian courts.  Without a functioning Central Authority, however, the Government of Ecuador has not been able to coordinate resources to work with law enforcement to locate missing children, to train judges hearing Hague cases, or to promote consistent, appropriate implementation of the Convention.  Ecuador has appointed a series of offices to serve temporarily as the Central Authority, but these offices have not been given any additional resources that would enable them to carry out their mandates.  The United States has sent two diplomatic notes to the Government of Ecuador with requests that a permanent Central Authority be designated, and asking for updates on our unresolved cases.



Dominican Divorce




It is possible to get a divorce in the Dominican Republic in a weekend. You can choose to go to court in the capital city of Santo Domingo or to a resort town. But besides having an enjoyable vacation, and procuring a paper bearing the word “divorce,” what else do you accomplish by divorcing Dominican style?

The answer is: It all depends. It depends on a host of factors, the most important of which is usually the factor of your own residency or domicile.

As far as some jurisdictions are concerned, a Dominican divorce will be recognized, as long as both parties participated in the process.

However, most U.S. states will not recognize the typical Dominican divorce whereby one party signs a power of attorney while the other party travels to the Dominican Republic, makes a personal appearance in court and receives a divorce decree on the spot or by mail a week or so later.

Nonetheless, even in the latter kind of case, the fact that both parties have participated in the Dominican divorce process will in most cases prevent both of the spouses from subsequently making the allegation that the divorce was invalid.

While we sometimes recommend a Dominican divorce, in many cases we do not. We have been retained on several occasions to help clients untangle themselves from situations in which Dominican divorces have led to entirely unforeseen adverse consequences.

The bottom line: Get legal advice before getting a Dominican divorce. The advice should not come from an online Dominican agency, any kind of agency that promotes Dominican or Guam divorces or from a Dominican lawyer. You need advice from a lawyer in your home state or country who understands the issues and is experienced in handling them.

The following has been published by the Government of the Dominican Republic:

“Legal Requirements for U. S. Citizens to Obtain Valid Divorces in the Dominican Republic

Recently, a number of U. S. citizens have inquired about the process by which they can obtain a valid divorce in the Dominican Republic. A special divorce law for nonresident foreigner (passed in 1971) provides that the only permissible grounds for divorce of non-resident foreigners is mutual consent. This means that if a husband and wife who do not reside in the Dominican Republic want to obtain a valid divorce under Dominican law, both spouses must agree that they want to obtain such a divorce.

The special divorce law also establishes four requirements to obtain such a divorce:

1. One of the spouses who wish to be divorced must make a personal appearance in court in the Dominican Republic. The special divorce law does not require the person seeking a divorce to reside in the Dominican Republic for any length of time. Therefore, the spouse making the personal appearance in the Dominican court could arrive one day and depart the next day, after meeting all other legal requirements.

2. The divorcing spouses must enter into a separation agreement with respect to the division of their common property, custody over their children (if any), and alimony and support payments. The spouses should have such an agreement drafted by an attorney who practices law in the jurisdiction of the domicile of the marriage.

3. If one of the divorcing spouses does not appear in the Dominican Republic, he or she must execute a power of attorney in the presence of a Notary Public or a Dominican Consul. (A list of the locations of Dominican Consuls in the United States is attached). This power of attorney provides evidence to the Dominican court that the non-appearing spouses accept the jurisdiction of that court.
4. The spouse who appears in the Dominican Republic to obtain the divorce must provide not only the separation agreement and the power of attorney but (copies of?) the birth certificates of all minor children born in the marriage and a certified copy of the marriage certificate. Once the spouse makes the necessary appearance in the Dominican Republic, it will take between one and four weeks, depending on the courts workload, for the divorce judgment to be handed down and registered.

Note: The Embassy of the Dominican Republic understands that a number of web sites on the Internet assert that U. S. citizens can obtain divorces in the Dominican Republic without either of the spouses having to appear in the Dominican Republic before a Dominican court and without mutual consent. This information is completely incorrect and directly contrary to Dominican law. If someone has paid any money to obtain a divorce in the Dominican Republic, but has not complied with the requirements listed above, that divorce is invalid and will not be recognized as valid by courts in the Dominican Republic or in the United States.”



Denmark: Family Law


The following is an extract from Denmark’s answers to a questionnaire submitted by the Hague Conference on Private International Law concerning the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction:


1. Civil legislative provisions
If one parent has sole custody of the child, this parent has the right to determine where the child should live, even if it is outside of Denmark. The parent, who does not have custody of the child, cannot take the child abroad without the consent of the holder of the custody. When parents on the other hand have joint custody, and they disagree about who is to have sole custody, both parents shall consent to the child leaving the country. When proceedings regarding custody have commenced, the court can dec ide that one parent should have temporary custody during the case. Such a temporary decision can also be made by the Ministry of Justice, Dep. of Private Law, if there is a risk that the parent, who has the custody of the child, is going to bring the child abroad.


2. Criminal legislative provisions
It follows from the Danish criminal code that a person, who wrongfully takes the child abroad, can be sentenced to a term of imprisonment of up to 4 years. Covered by this article are both situations where the non-abducting parent has sole custody and where the parents have joint custody and they disagree about who is to have sole custody. In case of a report about one parent’s attempt to wrongfully take the child abroad, the police can remove the child from the parent, who has tried to wrongfully bring the child abroad, and the child may then be placed with the other parent. If the parents have joint custody, it must be obvious to the police that the parents disagree about the custody, that there is no consent to the child leaving the country, and signs that the parent is leaving the country.


3. Court orders during proceedings
As stated under question 1 the court can decide that one parent should have temporary custody during the case. If such a decision is made, it is for instance possible for the holder of custody to decide that the other parent cannot pick up the child in day care institutions etc.


4. Court orders in emergency situations 

Same as under question 3. Order of temporary custody can in some situations be made out-of-hours and also ex parte, if the judge finds it necessary in order to prevent an abduction.



5. Comments relating to legislative provisions, court orders or administrative measures

Decisions of temporary custody are often made by the court, when parents disagree about who is to have sole custody. They are, however, only made administratively if there is found to be an actual risk that one of the parents will take the child out of the country. In cases of joint custody the protection lies in the demand for consent to the child leaving the country.



Czech Republic: Family Law




Marriage, unmarried couples, partnerships, divorce, judicial separation, maintenance obligations

a) Sources of law

The Act on private and procedural international law.

b) Scope of legislation

The Act on private and procedural international law regulates issues related to the capacity of a person to enter into matrimony, conditions of entering into matrimony and conditions for the validity of marriage, the dissolution of marriage by divorce, a marriage annulment, and the mutual rights of a child’s parents who are not married. The maintenance obligations of the parents and children are also regulated.

c) Relevant connecting factors

The capacity to enter into matrimony, including the conditions for the validity of marriage, is governed by the law of the state of which the person concerned is a national (the lex patriae of the betrothed), the form in which the marriage takes place is governed by the law of the place where the marriage is held (lex loci conclusionis contractus).

Divorce is essentially governed by the law of the state of which the couple are nationals at the time the proceedings commence (the lex patriae of the spouses).

The rights of the mother of a child not married to the child’s father are governed by the law of the state of which the mother is a national at the time the child is born (the lex patriae of the mother at the birth of the child).

For maintenance obligations of parents towards their children the applicable law, with the odd exception (see 3.4 above), is the law of the state of which the child is a national (the lex patriae of the child); the parents’ claims to maintenance vis-à-vis their children are governed by the law of the state of which the parent making the claim is a national (lex patriae).

d) Mandatory rules, national public policy (ordre public) exception

The Criminal Code contains relevant mandatory legal provisions, e.g. prohibiting bigamy.

Matrimonial property regimes

a) Sources of law

The Act on private and procedural international law.

b) Scope of legislation

This legal regulation regulates matrimonial property regimes, including any contractual arrangements.

c) Relevant connecting factors

Personal and property matrimonial relations are essentially governed by the law of the state of which the husband and wife are nationals (the lex patriae of the spouses), except in cases where they have different nationalities, in which case Czech law is the applicable law.

Where matrimonial property regimes are regulated by a contract, these relations are governed by the law applicable to the matrimonial property regimes at the time this contract was concluded (the lex causae of the law applicable at the time the contract on matrimonial property relations was concluded).