Cross-border child maintenance cases

Assistance lent by authorities for the recovery of child maintenance payments from persons living in another EU Member State

Kulcsszavak: maintenance, international recovery, international enforcement, debtor living abroad, Maintenance Regulation, Maintenance Act

Pursuant to Regulation (EC) No 4/2009 (the Maintenance Regulation), which is applicable to matters relating to maintenance obligations in the European Union, a party may seek assistance from a Central Authority of their own Member State designated for such purpose. Parties can therefore submit an application to a court/authority of their own Member State for establishing the amount of maintenance payment in another Member State or for the international enforcement of a court decision in which the maintenance amount has been established. The requesting and the requested Central Authorities will thereafter cooperate to ensure that the application is brought before the competent court/authority of the requested Member State, that the applicant has appropriate legal representation in the other Member State, and that the applicant is continuously updated on the status of the case. Thus, applicants can enforce their claims without the need to travel abroad, hire and pay a lawyer, keep in constant contact with their lawyer and bear the related costs.

According to the Maintenance Regulation, applicants requesting assistance from a Central Authority to enforce a maintenance claim should contact the Central Authority of the Member State in which they are resident. Consequently, the Hungarian Central Authority may only be contacted and asked to provide assistance with enforcing a maintenance claim in another Member State by persons who reside in Hungary.

If the child maintenance obligation has already been established by a Hungarian court, applicants living in Hungary should file the application for the recovery of maintenance payment in another Member State to the court proceeding at first instance. If an applicant petitions the court of another Member State to have the maintenance amount established or the established amount of maintenance payment raised, the application should be submitted to the competent district court at his/her domicile or place of residence or place of work. Requests for locating a debtor in another Member State and collecting information on his/her income or assets (from which maintenance can be recovered) prior to submission of the application should be addressed to the Ministry of Justice.

Maintenance applications should be filed with the court on the standard form set out in the annex (Annex VI or VII) of the Maintenance Regulation; applicants without a legal representative receive assistance to complete the form by the court. Applicants are required to attach a statement of the debtor’s maintenance arrears to their application. The court annexes the maintenance decision to the application, together with an extract from the maintenance decision provided on the standard form set out in the relevant annex of the Regulation. The court also decides on the payment of translation costs, and it may exempt an applicant from the payment of such costs (if the necessary conditions are met); applicants are otherwise required to deposit the expected translation costs with the court.

Applications and their attachments are sent to the Hungarian Central Authority designated under the Regulation, i.e. the Ministry of Justice, which then forwards the complete application to the Central Authority of the Member State in which the debtor has his/her domicile, or income and assets from which maintenance can be recovered. The authorities of this Member State will then proceed to recover maintenance payment.

Applicants keep in contact with and are updated on the proceedings by the Hungarian Central Authority during the procedure.

If a creditor living in another Member State wishes to bring proceedings in Hungary through the Central Authorities, the application should be lodged with the Central Authority of his/her Member State of residence. If a creditor wishes to proceed without involving the Central Authorities of the Regulation and bring his/her maintenance claim directly before a Hungarian court, the application should be submitted to the Hungarian court by the creditor or his/her legal representative in Hungary. For a list of courts with competence to deal with applications for the establishment of the maintenance amount, see: https://birosag.hu/birosag-kereso

For a list of courts with competence to enforce decisions given abroad and to declare their enforceability, see: https://e-justice.europa.eu/content_maintenance_obligations-355-hu.do

Applicants in Hungary should submit their maintenance application on the standard form set out in the annex (Annex VI or VII) of the Maintenance Regulation; the forms are available here:

https://e-justice.europa.eu/content_maintenance_obligations_forms-274-hu.do

Applicants are required to attach a statement of the debtor’s maintenance arrears to the application for enforcement; the standard form is available here:

https://e-justice.europa.eu/content_maintenance_claims-47-hu.do?clang=hu

 

When filing an application for the establishment of a maintenance obligation or an increase of the amount of maintenance payment, applicants should attach other documents supporting their claim, such as a certificate of their income or proof of their expenses.

If an applicant requests exemption from the payment of translation costs, the corresponding application should be submitted using the standard form below:

https://birosag.hu/nyomtatvanyok/polgari-eljaras-koltsegkedvezmenyek-koltsegjegyzek/koltsegmentesseg-nyomtatvany-1

For applicants in EU Member States all maintenance proceedings brought by the creditor are completely free of charge, provided that the child concerned is under the age of 21 and the maintenance application has been submitted through the Central Authorities. In other cases of maintenance proceedings, applicants can request legal aid on account of their financial circumstances by filing the appropriate application for legal aid.

Hungarian applicants are entitled to legal aid for enforcement proceedings abroad if they furnish proof that they have received legal aid for the corresponding maintenance proceedings in Hungary. Furthermore, regardless of whether an applicant has received legal aid for the procedure in the requested Member State or not, translation costs may arise in connection with an application; the court which receives the application decides who should bear these costs. If this court grants the applicant exemption from paying such costs, the costs of translation are advanced by the court and eventually borne by the state. If the court does not exempt the applicant from paying the costs of translation, the applicant must deposit the expected translation costs with the court. Applicants are entitled to legal aid also after the application has been forwarded abroad if additional documents need to be translated for the foreign authorities to be able to proceed with the application.

If an applicant living in another EU Member State wishes to enforce a maintenance claim in Hungary, the proceedings are completely free of charge under the Maintenance Regulation, provided that the child concerned is under the age of 21 and the application has been submitted through the Central Authorities; for all other proceedings aimed at enforcing a maintenance claim in Hungary, applicants are entitled to legal representation free of charge, and may not be required to advance costs; they need to pay such costs subsequently only if they are unsuccessful.

According to the Maintenance Regulation, applicants requesting assistance from a Central Authority to enforce a maintenance claim should contact the Central Authority of the Member State in which they are resident. Consequently, the Hungarian Central Authority, i.e. the Ministry of Justice can only be contacted (through court) and asked to provide assistance with enforcing a maintenance claim in another Member State by persons who reside in Hungary.

If the child maintenance obligation has already been established by a Hungarian court, the applicant living in Hungary should file the application for the enforcement of maintenance payment in another Member State to the court which proceeded at first instance. If an applicant petitions the court of another Member State to have the maintenance amount established or the established amount of maintenance payment raised, the application should be submitted to the competent district court at his/her domicile or place of residence or place of work. Requests for locating a debtor in another Member State and collecting information on his/her income or assets (from which maintenance can be recovered) prior to submission of the application should be addressed directly to the Ministry of Justice.

Contact details of the Hungarian Central Authority designated under the Maintenance Regulation:

Ministry of Justice

Department of Private International Law

H-1357 Budapest

Pf. 2.

Tel: +36 (1) 795 5397, +36 (1) 795 3188

Fax: +36 (1) 795 0463

Email: nmfo@im.gov.hu

 

An information note on the enforcement of cross-border maintenance claims is available on the website of the Ministry of Justice:

https://igazsagugyiinformaciok.kormany.hu/nemzetkozi-gyermekelviteli-es-tartasdijjal-kapcsolatos-ugyek

For further information on Hungarian law and procedures relating to maintenance claims, see the official website of the European Union:

https://e-justice.europa.eu/content_maintenance_claims-47-hu-hu.do?member=1

 

Have you found this information useful? Please tell us your opinion here.

Act LXVII of 2011 (http://njt.hu/cgi_bin/njt_doc.cgi?docid=138697)

Regulation (EC) No 4/2009

(https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/PDF/?uri=CELEX:32009R0004&from=EN)

CIKFO