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The international jurisdiction of the French judge to rule on parental responsibility (exercise of parental authority, determination of the child’s habitual residence, visiting rights of the non-custodial parent, etc.) is governed by the Brussels II ter regulation, i.e. Council Regulation (EU) 2019/1111 of 25 June 2019 on jurisdiction, recognition and enforcement of decisions in matrimonial matters and matters of parental responsibility, as well as international child abduction.

In application of the Brussels II ter regulation, the French judge may have jurisdiction as judge of the child’s habitual residence at the time of hearing. When the child usually resides abroad, the jurisdiction of the French judge is more uncertain. However, certain derogation rules from the Brussels II ter regulation may be used: for example regarding visiting rights or in the presence of parental consent.

Regarding the applicable law, it is appropriate to turn to the Hague Convention of 19 October 1996 on jurisdiction, applicable law, recognition, enforcement and cooperation in matters of parental responsibility and protective measures. children. 

When the French judge has jurisdiction (on the basis of the Brussels II ter regulation), he in principle applies French rules on parental authority.

Once the child’s habitual residence is defined, the question generally arises of the contribution to the maintenance and education of the child owed by one of the parents. It is governed by Regulation (EC) No. 4/2009 of December 18, 2008 relating to jurisdiction, applicable law, recognition and enforcement of decisions and cooperation in matters of maintenance obligations. 

We have over the years developed legal competency in assisting clients to apply the international laws when it comes to child custody. 

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