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"Thirty percent of the cases that come to the firm related to family law have an international component."

Leyre Ecenarro, partner of the law firm Fuster-Fabra, spoke about couple crises, in the last session of the Family First cycle of Master's Degree of Family Law.

17 | 04 | 2023

Leire Ecenarro, partner and manager of department of Family Law in the law firm Fuster-Fabra Abogados starred in the last session of the lecture series online Family First, organized by the Master's Degree of Family Law of the University of Navarra. "30% of the cases that come to the office related to Family Law have an international component, whether EU or non-EU," he said. During his speech, under the degree scroll Las crisis de pareja en una sociedad plurinacional, Ecenarro addressed the different casuistry studied by Family Law professionals and stressed the need for lawyers specialized in International Family Law. "We are in a global society. Families have changed by leaps and bounds. The international element is a constant nowadays", he pointed out. 

Ecenarro structured his presentation in four cases: the family crisis resulting in a broken marriage, divorce or a procedure of paternal-filial relations; cases in which there is a judgment issued by a foreign country and how it should be recognized and enforced in Spain; preventive law: application of covenants; and cases of child abduction, in which a partner of another nationality takes the child to his or her home country. 

Before listing the different regulations, Ecenarro made some considerations: "The national Civil Law is of marginal application. Family law is mainly community law and there is no uniformity in the applicable law, each country has its own rules. In each case, it is necessary to determine the habitual residency program and nationality of the parties and to distinguish between EU citizens and non-EU citizens or citizens from a country that is or is not a signatory of the 1980 Hague Convention agreement . In each case we have to analyze what is the jurisdiction and skill of the Spanish courts and, secondly, to see what law is applicable," he said.  

Ecenarro focused for a moment his exhibition on child abduction cases to highlight the importance of acting with speed and agility. "If the procedure for the return of a child is not agile, it could lead us to ask ourselves: What is the interest of the child who has been living in another country for years and is adapted to it? Speed is essential in order not to prolong a status, which is based on an unlawful act and which leads us to conclude that the child stays in the country that has abducted him/her, thus rewarding the abducting parent". 

Ecenarro then pointed out some figures: in his office there are average ten cases of child abduction per year; according to what he explained, in our country the processes to solve these cases have become much more agile. The skill of the Courts have concentrated in the capitals of province, with an urgent and summary procedure and the average of resolution of the conflict is in a month or month and a half.

"The specialization in Family Law is essential to be able to give a prompt response to these cases. In addition, the Master's Degree in Family Law can facilitate and help us to weave professional networks and international contacts with other expert lawyers who, at a given moment, can help us to resolve cases in which we do not have jurisdiction or we do not know the applicable law to conclude that it is that of another state," he said. 

Leire Ecenarro also referred to mediation, which can be public or private. A totally valid procedure but that, in the opinion of Fuster-Fabra's lawyer, sometimes, the solution is prolonged in time. "Mediation has to be voluntary," he clarified in the first place. "However, in some cases, it is not so effective because the parties immersed in a family procedure require quick solutions and, the moment you open the way of mediation, the judicial procedure stops. I think it would be more effective for the judicial procedure to continue its course even if the mediation route is also explored to resolve the conflict," he concluded.