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Family law disputes involving EU after Brexit

Government issues guidance for parties

The Ministry of Justice and Foreign & Commonwealth Office have published guidance on what to do if the UK leaves the EU without a deal on 29 March.

The guidance addresses persons who have cases in England and Wales for:

where one party lives in the EU.

The guidance is as set out below.


Speak to a lawyer or Citizens Advice to get specific advice about your case and any action you need to take.

Matters relating to children (parental responsibility)


Maintenance cases in court

Visit the Child maintenance if one parent lives abroad page to learn more about what you need to do.

Child Maintenance Service cases

The Child Maintenance Service applies to cases where the paying parent, the receiving parent and the child are all in the UK; it will not change.

International parental child abduction

After 29 March 2019, whether the UK leaves the EU with a deal or not, the rules about abduction or wrongfully retained children in EU countries will mostly not change.

If you are the applicant in a case to return a child who has been abducted to an EU country by the other parent or a relative you should, if possible, get legal advice from a specialist lawyer.

You should also, if possible, get local legal advice in the country the child has been taken to, and you should contact the Central Authority for England and Wales (ICACU) and the charity Reunite: