International family lawyers

When family law crosses borders

The JURINOVO team has expertise in international family law. Over the years of practice in a city like Montreal, our lawyers have developed particular experience in family or marital matters which have international implications.

We can help you in the following situations:

  • international child abduction;
  • cross-border family disputes involving child custody and visitation rights in different countries;
  • separations or divorces in which the marriage was celebrated abroad;
  • contestation of  the Quebec jurisdiction when the case should be heard by another court;
  • recognition of foreign judgments in Quebec;
  • the enforcement of foreign judgments in Quebec, in particular with regard to child custody and child and spousal support;
  • Requests for modification or cancellation of support payments for a parent or spouse living abroad;
  • Divorces and amicable separations when one of the spouses lives abroad;
  • Any family or conjugal situation involving another Canadian province;

International child abduction

The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction is an international convention that has been adopted by most countries in the world, including Canada. This Convention aims to protect minor children from international abduction by one parent by establishing a mechanism for the child’s forced return to his or her country of habitual residence.

An illegal removal or international abduction occurs when a parent decides to move a minor child from one country to another without the consent of the other parent. This can happen, for example, when the parents separate and one of them decides to return to live in his country of origin with the minor child without the consent of the other parent. This can also occur when a parent travels with a minor child on holiday and refuses to take the child back to his or her country of habitual residence at the end of the stay.

International Child Abduction cases are considered very urgent and are dealt with as a matter of priority by the courts. Our lawyers have experience in dealing with these highly sensitive and urgent family law cases for abductions involving income children or outgoing children. When the child is illegally removed outside of Canada, we can help you by collaborating with your attorneys abroad and seeking the Court’s intervention in Quebec.

When a minor child is illegally removed to the Province of Quebec, we can petition the Courts to seek the immediate return of the child to his habitual residence. We can also defend you if you have a valid defense to present in order to oppose the return of the minor child to his habitual residence.

There are some exceptions to the child’s return to his or her country of habitual residence. This is the case when the parent who came to Quebec with the minor child fled in a context of violence. The exception to the immediate return of a child may apply if it is proven that if the child were to return to his or her country of habitual residence, there would be a serious risk that he would be exposed to physical or psychological danger or placed in an intolerable situation.

If you are abroad and your child has been abducted to Quebec or if you are in Quebec and are faced with a situation of international child abduction, we can represent you and help you navigate through this complex area of law.

If you are abroad and are a victim of international child abduction we can help you petition the courts in Quebec to seek the return of your child to his/her home country. We can also represent parents who are the object of an abduction petition but who believe they have a valid reason to have fled the child’s habitual country of residence. We will carefully assess your situation and determine whether or not to you have a chance at contesting a petition for the immediate return of your child to another country.

International jurisdiction of Quebec authorities

A decision that is made outside Quebec by a competent authority and according to the laws of the country that makes the decision can be recognized in the Province of Quebec as long as it does not go against public order.

The recognition of a foreign judgment is required only when it is necessary to enforce it in the Province of Quebec. This is a prerequisite for changing a family situation in Quebec as a result of significant changes in circumstances, such as parental time (custody and access rights) or child support.

A foreign judgment regarding child support is not automatically recognized and enforced in the Province of Quebec, except where a reciprocity agreement exists between Quebec and the foreign state in question.

Our lawyers will help you assess your case to determine whether you need to petition the Courts to request the recognition and enforcement of a foreign judgment.

Usually, a decision rendered by a competent court will be recognized in the Province of Quebec. Certain exceptions apply and a foreign judgment will not be recognized in the Province of Quebec, namely in the following circumstances:

  • the authority of the State where the decision was rendered had no jurisdiction under the provisions of the Law;
  • the decision, at the place where it was rendered, is not final or enforceable;
  • the decision was rendered in contravention of the fundamental principles of procedure;
  • a dispute between the same parties, based on the same facts and having the same subject has given rise to a decision rendered in Quebec or is pending before a Quebec authority;
  • the outcome of a foreign decision is manifestly inconsistent with public order as understood in international relations;

Jurisdiction debates can be amongst the most challenging and complex cases in international family law. They involve both an interaction between two systems of law and the application of the international competences of Quebec courts in relation to a foreign legal situation. This requires a good understanding and solid experience in private international law.

Our lawyers are experienced in this area and can advise you on this type of case. It may also be essential to call on foreign legal experts, particularly when it is necessary to enforce the law of another country or explain to the court the steps of a foreign procedure and the international competence of another country.

In general, the Quebec authorities are competent to hear family cases when one of the parties has his residence in Quebec. Although it is competent to hear a dispute, the Quebec court could, however, decline its jurisdiction if it believes that the authorities of another state are in a better position to decide the dispute. On the contrary, the court may decide to hear the dispute if it considers that the dispute has a sufficient connection with Quebec.

In all cases, Quebec authorities can make decisions in situations that are urgent in order to protect people or property that are in Quebec.

Our lawyers can help you analyze your legal situation to determine if the Quebec authorities can hear your case or whether it is better to take action in another country.

Our lawyers can help you analyze your legal situation to determine whether the Quebec authorities could hear your case or whether it is preferable to initiate proceedings in another country.

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