family law

Habitual residence in the context of an application for return of a child abroad

Every case brought under the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction requires establishment of the child’s habitual residence. Therefore, the concept of habitual residence is central to the operation of the convention itself. Nevertheless, this term is not defined in the convention, nor in the Brussels II bis Regulation applicable to relations between EU member states.

Brexit and family law

On 31 January 2020, the UK ceased to be a member state of the EU, and since then has not participated in EU decision-making processes or the work of EU institutions. The transition period provided for in the Brexit withdrawal agreement ends on 31 December 2020. Until then, all EU rules (with some exceptions not related to family law) still apply to the UK, as they do to EU member states. But how will divorce, maintenance, child and parental authority issues look from the start of 2021?

Amendments to the Inheritance and Gift Tax Act

The set of parties who can benefit from inheritance and gift tax exemptions will expand. The exemption will now apply to persons who are or have been in a foster family, a family-style children’s home, a care and educational institution, or a regional care and therapeutic institution, as well as persons forming a foster family, running a family-style children’s home, or working with children in a care and educational institution or a regional care and therapeutic institution.

Applicable law for marital property: How to make a choice of law, and what if no choice is made?

What law governs the marital property of a Polish wife and British husband who were married in the UK and then moved to Poland? What law governs the marital property of a Polish/French couple residing in Spain but holding real estate in Poland and France? Will a choice of law by a Polish/Swedish married couple to govern their marital property be recognised by an English court? These and other questions are answered by conflict-of-law regulations, knowledge of which is the point of departure for analysis of property relations between spouses.

Civil aspects of child abduction: A few thoughts on the 1980 Hague Convention

It is said that familiarity breeds contempt. This old English proverb seems to be confirmed in China, where there has been an unprecedented increase in the number of divorce petitions following the opening of courts after several weeks of quarantine. While at the moment it is difficult to speak of a similar trend in Europe, the number of divorces is steadily increasing, and family law regulations are hardly keeping up with the needs of parents and children on the move. Some parents go abroad with their children, deliberately trying to bypass laws of a given jurisdiction. Others simply return with a child to their country of origin, unaware of the legal consequences of their actions. This situation, called parental abduction, constitutes a global and growing problem.

Waiver of succession by a minor living abroad

A minor may become an heir either by will or by law. Often the appointment to an inheritance results from earlier waiver by the parents (due to debts of the estate or a desire to pass on the inheritance to further heirs). However, a seemingly simple succession becomes complicated if a minor heir does not live in Poland.