Brexit- goes new in cross-border family affairs including in the matter of divorce

From the 1st of February 2020, the EU has 27 (instead of 28) Member States. Great Britain has officially left the Union as a part of the so-called Brexit. However, negotiations on the future relations between the Union and Great Britain are still quite foggy and are going to be complex.

Therefore, change of the UK-EU legal relations will definitely take time. For that reason, Agreement on the withdrawal of the UK from the EU provides for a transition period until the end of 2020. Until then, all EU regulations (including those related to family law matters as divorce cases between Polish and British citizenship) will be still covering Britain. At this very moment, it is quite difficult to predict what changes will be conducted in the sphere of family law (divorce procedure) in relations between UK and EU after the mentioned period. However, it is worth to pay attention to a number of EU Regulations related to family law matters, which theoretically will not be applied in Great Britain after Brexit. First of all, in this context one should mention Brussels II a Regulation on jurisdiction, recognition and enforcement of judgments in matrimonial matters (for instance divorce cases) and matters of parental responsibility. In case, the mentioned Regulation will no longer be applicable in Great Britain, Hague Convention of 1970 on the recognition of divorces and legal separation will come on the scene. Twenty countries from all over the world, including Great Britain and Poland are parties to the Convention. Apart from that Convention, Brussels II bis will be partly supplanted by the Hague Convention of 19 October 1996 on Jurisdiction, Applicable Law, Recognition, Enforcement and Co-operation in Respect of Parental Responsibility and Measures for the Protection of Children.

In turn, instead of Council Regulation (EC) No 4/2009 on jurisdiction, applicable law, recognition and enforcement of decisions and cooperation in matters relating to maintenance obligations one will rather take into account the Hague Convention on the International Recovery of Child Support and Other Forms of Family Maintenance. More than 50 countries are parties to the Convention. Poland and the UK are not exceptions in this respect.

Lastly, the Hague Convention of 1980, which concerns international child abduction, will still be an important instrument of the international family law applicable in the UK.