Inter-American Convention on Support Obligations
Done at: Montevideo
Date enacted: 1989-07-15
In force: 1996-03-06
- Applicable law
- International procedural cooperation
- General provisions
- Fianl provisions
The purpose of this Convention is to establish the law applicable to support obligations and to jurisdiction and international procedural cooperation when the support creditor is domiciled or habitually resides in one State Party and the debtor is domiciled or habitually resides or has property or income in another State Party.
This Convention shall apply to child support obligations owed because of the child's minority and to spousal support obligations arising from the matrimonial relationship between spouses or former spouses.
When signing, ratifying, or acceding to this Convention, a State may declare that it restricts the scope of the Convention to child support obligations.
For the purposes of this Convent ion, a child shall be any person below the age of eighteen years. However, the benefits of this Convention shall also apply to those who, having attained that age, continue to be entitled to support under the applicable Iaw prescribed by Articles 6 and 7.
When signing, ratifying or acceding to this Convention or after it has taken effect, a State may declare that it shall apply to support obligations in favor of other creditors, and may indicate the degree of kinship or other legal relationship required by its law for a person to be a support creditor or debtor.
Any person, without regard to nationality, race, sex, religion, parentage, place of origin, immigration status or any other distinction, is entitled to receive support.
Decisions rendered pursuant to this Convention shall be without prejudice to questions of parentage and family relationships between support creditors and debtors. Where relevant, however, such decisions may be used as evidence.
Support obligations, as well as the definition of support creditor and debtor, shall be governed by whichever of the following laws the competent authority finds the most favorable to the creditor:
That of the State of domicile or habitual residence of the creditor;
That of the State of domicile or habitual residence of the debtor.
The applicable law pursuant to Article 6 shall determine:
The amount of support due and the timing of and conditions for payment ;
Who may bring a support claim on behalf of the creditor; and
Any other condition necessary for enjoyment of the right to support.
At the option of the creditor, support claims may be heard by the following judicial or administrative authorities:
Those of the State of domicile or habitual residence of the creditor;
Those of the State of domicile or habitual residence of the debtor; or
Those of the State to which the debtor is connected by personal links such as possessing property, receiving income or obtaining financial benefits.
Notwithstanding the provisions of this article, a judicial or administrative authority of another State shall also have jurisdiction if the defendant appears before it without challenging its jurisdiction.
Actions to increase the amount of support may be heard by any of the authorities mentioned in Article 8. Actions to discontinue or reduce support shall be heard by the authorities of the State that set the amount of support.
Support shall be commensurate with both the need of the creditor and the financial resources of the debtor.
Should a judicial or administrative authority responsible for enforcing or securing the effectiveness of a judgment order provisional measures or provide for execution of judgment in an amount lower than requested, the rights of the creditor shall not thereby be impaired.
International procedural cooperation
Support orders of one State Party shall be enforced in other States Parties if they meet the following requirements:
The judicial or administrative authority issuing the order had jurisdiction under Articles 8 and 9 of this Convention to hear and decide the matter;
The order and the documents attached thereto required under this Convention have been duly translated into the official language of the State in which the order is to be enforced;
As necessary, the order and the documents attached thereto have been certified in accordance with the law of the State in which the order is to be enforced;
They have been certified in accordance with the law of the State of origin;
The defendant was served with notice or was summoned to appear in due legal form substantially equivalent to that established by the law of the State in which the order is to be enforced;
The parties had the opportunity to present their defense;
The orders are final in the State in which they were rendered. A pending appeal from such order shall not delay its enforcement.
A request for enforcement of an order shall include the following;
A certified copy of the order;
Certified copies of the documents needed to prove compliance with Article 11.e and 11.f;
A certified copy of a document showing that the support order is final or is being appealed.
Compliance with the above requirements shall be ascertained directly by he competent authority from which enforcement is sought, which shall proceed summarily, giving notice to the debtor and, where necessary, to the appropriate public agency and holding a hearing without reopening the merits. Should the enforcement decision be appealable, the appeal shall not suspend provisional measures or such collection or enforcement orders as may be in effect.
No security of any kind may be required from the support creditor because of his foreign nationality or his domicile or habitual residence in another State.
An in forma pauperis waiver of court costs granted to a support creditor in the State Party where he brought his action for support shall be recognized in the State Party where recognition or enforcement is sought. The States Parties undertake to provide free legal assistance to the beneficiaries of such waivers.
The judicial or administrative authorities of the States Parties shall order and carry out, pursuant to a well-founded request of a party or through the respective diplomatic agent or consular officer, provisional or urgent measures that are territorial in nature and whose purpose is to secure the outcome of a pending or anticipated support claim.
These provisions shall apply whatever authorities may have jurisdiction, so long as the property or income concerned is to be found within the territory where the action is brought.
The granting of a request for provisional or precautionary measures shall imply neither recognition of jurisdiction of the requesting authority nor a commitment to recognize the validity of, or enforce, a support order presented for enforcement.
Temporary support orders and interlocutory support judgements, including those rendered by courts hearing annulment, divorce, separation and similar cases, shall be enforced by the competent authority, although they may be subject to appeal in the State where rendered.
Upon signing, ratifying or acceding to the Convention, a State may declare that its procedural law will govern jurisdiction of the courts and the proceedings for recognition of a foreign support order.
The States Parties shall endeavor to provide, as far as they are able, temporary support to children from other States abandoned in their territory.
The States Parties undertake to facilitate the transfer of funds required for compliance with this Convention.
The provisions of this Convention may not be construed in such a way as to restrict the rights of the support creditor under the law of the forum.
The enforcement of foreign judgments or application of foreign law prescribed by this Convention may be refused when the requested State Party considers such enforcement or application manifestly contrary to its fundamental principles of public policy (ordre public).
This Convention shall be open for signature by the Member States of the Organization of American States.
This Convention is subject to ratification. The instruments of ratification shall be deposited with the General Secretariat of the Organization of American States.
This Convention shall remain open for accession by any other State. The instruments of accession shall be deposited with the General Secretariat of the Organization of American States.
Each State may, at the time of signature, ratification or accession, make reservations to this Convention, provided Chat the reservation concerns one or more specific provisions and is not incompatible with the purpose and fundamental objectives of this Convention.
If a State has two or more territorial units in which different systems of law apply in relation to the matters dealt with in this Convention, it may, at the time of signature, ratification or accession, declare that this Convention shall extend to all its territorial units or only to one or more of them.
Such declaration may be modified by subsequent declarations, which shall expressly indicate the territorial unit or units to which the Convention applies. Such subsequent declarations shall be transmitted to the General Secretariat of the Organization of American States, and shall become effective thirty days after the dace of their receipt.
In the case of a State that, with respect to child support obligations, has two or more systems of law applicable in different territorial units:
Any reference to the domicile or habitual residence in that State refers to domicile or habitual residence in a territorial unit of that State;
Any reference to the law of the State of domicile or habitual residence refers to the law of the territorial unit in which the child has its domicile or habitual residence.
Among Member States of the Organization of American States that are parties to this Convention and to the Hague Conventions of October 2, 1973 on the recognition and enforcement of decisions relating to maintenance obligations and on the law applicable to maintenance obligations, this Convention shall prevail.
However, States Parties may enter into bilateral agreements to give priority to the application of the Hague Conventions of October 2, 1973.
This Convention shall limit neither the provisions of existing or future bilateral or multilateral conventions on this subject entered into by the States Parties, nor the more favorable practices that those States may observe in this area.
This Convention shall enter into force on the thirtieth day following the date of deposit of the second instrument of ratification.
For each State ratifying or acceding to the Convention after the deposit of the second instrument of ratification, the Convention shall enter into force on the thirtieth day after deposit by such State of its instrument of ratification or accession.
This Convention shall remain in force indefinitely, but any of the States Parties may denounce it. The instrument of denunciation shall be deposited with the General Secretariat of the Organization of American States. After one year from the date of deposit of the instrument of denunciation, the Convention shall no longer be in force for the denouncing State, but shall remain in force for the other States Parties.
The original instrument of this Convention, the English, French, Portuguese and Spanish texts of which are equally authentic, shall be deposited with the General Secretariat of the Organization of American States, which shall forward an authenticated copy of its text to the Secretariat of the United Nations for registration and publication in accordance with Article 102 of its Charter. The General Secretariat of the Organization of American States shall notify the Member States of the Organization and the States chat have acceded to the Convention of the signatures, deposits of instruments of ratification, accession and denunciation, as well as of reservations, if any. It shall also transmit the declarations provided for in this Convention.
In witness whereof, the undersigned Plenipotentiaries, being duly authorized thereto by their respective Governments, have signed this Convention.
Done at Montevideo, Eastern Republic of Uruguay, this fifteenth day of July, one thousand nine hundred and eighty-nine.