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Friday, 8 February 2013

Collection of Child Support from the Parent Residing in Finland – Solutions of the International Law as an Example of Good Practice

The outcome of the procedures conducted for the collection of child support in Serbia usually does not provide adequate protection of interest of child support beneficiaries, both for the inappropriate length and frequent impossibility of collection of support or alimony determined by court decisions. In EU countries, the situation in the concerned area is far more advanced, which is evidenced by the procedure for collection of child support from the father residing in Finland that is currently conducted in line with rules of the international law.

By submitting the request to the Ministry of Finance and Economy of the Republic of Serbia on 14 January 2013, the executive procedure was initiated for the collection of child support from the person residing in Finland, based on the decision of the court of the Republic of Serbia. The procedure is conducted in line with the provisions of the UN Convention on the Recovery Abroad of Maintenance from 1956.  Pursuant to the rules and procedures of the Convention, the request was sent to the Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Finland. The documentation needed to be enclosed in the request was extensive and its collection lasted for several months, but the significance of this circumstance is substantially diminished by the promptness of further acting of competitive institutions. Specifically, the competent Finnish Ministry, as a mediator in the collection of child support, sent the response to the submitter of request as early as on 16 January 2013. The concerned notice provided a detailed procedure that would follow the submitted request. The conducting of the procedure until the final collection of all due amounts of child support, along with the current amounts, will be in charge of Finnish state bodies and institutions.  According to the Finnish legislation, the submitter of request is also guaranteed free legal aid and exemption from costs of alimony procedure that will be conducted in Finland. Such protection of interest of child support beneficiaries is surely the solution that should be regulated in Serbia as well. However, the Serbian legislation cannot boast of similar regulations. In addition to the stated, the Finish regulations offer the possibility of increase of amounts of child support in case case of the change of facts and circumstances, upon the request of the beneficiary.  That possibility has been used in the concerned procedure by the legal representatives of our citizen – the request for the change (increase) of determined amount of child support has been submitted and the competent Finish bodies are expected to provide their opinion in the course of the procedure.

According to the information received from the Ministry of Finance and Economy of the Republic of Serbia, the described procedure is the first case of the collection of support from the person residing in Finland, and thus it represents the first steps towards the establishment of practice in this field between Serbia and Finland. Based on the recent course of the procedure, we conclude that efficient realization of the collection of child support can be expected, and the application of the rules of the international law, in the concrete case of the UN Convention from 1956 points to the fact that it is possible to conduct alimony procedures quickly, efficiently and by respecting the integrity and interest of persons in need of support.

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