There have been no fewer than 18 international conventions applicable to international divorce, custody and support arising from the Hague Conference on Private International Law (known as the Hague Conventions). The most recent & relevant include:

  1. Convention of 14 March 1978 on the Law Applicable to Matrimonial Property Regimes;
  2. Convention of 14 March 1978 on Celebration and Recognition of the Validity of Marriages;
  3. Convention of 25 October 1980 on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction;
  4. Convention of 29 May 1993 on Protection of Children and Co-operation in respect of Intercountry Adoption;
  5. Convention of 19 October 1996 on Jurisdiction, Applicable Law, Recognition, Enforcement and Co-operation in respect of Parental Responsibility and Measures for the Protection of Children;
  6. Convention of 23 November 2007 on International Recovery of Child Support and Other Forms of Family Maintenance;
  7. Protocol of 23 November 2007 on the Law Applicable to Maintenance Obligations.

Generally, international cooperation on family law has much improved in recent years. However, if you, your family property, your ex-spouse, or any of your children are located outside Canada at the time a family change is initiated, you should ask a lawyer to carefully consider three key questions:

  1. which jurisdiction's law applies to your case?
  2. how to resolve conflicts between Canadian and foreign law?
  3. how to enforce a foreign judgment in Canada, or how to enforce a Canadian judgment abroad?

Gordon S. Campbell has an extensive background in international law. He served as a delegate for Canada to United Nations and APEC meetings, led mutual legal assistance and extradition court proceedings for the Department of Justice, and holds a degree in international relations as well as degrees in common law and civil law.