Recovery of Maintenance in the EU and Worldwide

Facilitating Dialogue and Cross-Border Cooperation through Research and a Conference for Governments, Practice and Academia in the Framework of the EU Regulation and the Hague Convention on Maintenance



Council Regulation (EC) No 4/2009 of 18 December 2008 on maintenance obligations (“Regulation”) has entered into force on 18 June 2011. On 23 November 2007 the Hague Convention on the International Recovery of Child Support and other forms of Family Maintenance (“Convention”) was concluded. The Convention has already been signed by the U.S. and the EU for its Member States. These two new instruments rearrange the international recovery of maintenance and their success will largely depend on close cooperation among stakeholders.


The project, funded by the EU Commission, aims to improve the implementation and application of the new instruments and to strengthen cross-border cooperation in Europe and worldwide by establishing a platform for multi-professional cross-border contacts and collaboration.

A key element of the project is an International Conference to be held in Heidelberg from March 5th to 8th, 2013, for up to several hundred attendees. The Heidelberg conference will provide an opportunity for the participants to share their experiences, increase their mutual knowledge about child support, family maintenance law, proceedings and enforcement in their respective countries or organizations, and to discuss unresolved issues and develop models for good practice.

In the course of the project qualitative and quantitative research will also be carried out by the Universities of Aberdeen and Heidelberg. A questionnaire has been designed for all Member States to find out how the Regulation has operated in its first year in force and how it has been implemented. The research will identify problems in practice and in jurisprudence as well as the need for further education and training.



The project is operated by partners from practice and from academia.
Organiser is the German Institute for Youth Human Services and Family Law (DIJuF).
Partners are the Universities of Aberdeen (Prof Paul R. Beaumont) and Heidelberg (Prof Dr Burkhard Hess).
Associate Partners are The German Federal Ministry of Justice (Dr Matthias Heger), the National Child Support Enforcement Association (NCSEA - Hannah Roots, Christopher Beresford), The Hague Conference on Private International Law (Maja Groff, Philippe Lortie) and the University of Lyon (Prof Dr Frédérique Ferrand).

Conference Letter

The conference letter ‘Child Support and Family Maintenance’ provides regular updates on the project and other interesting news concerning the cross-border recovery of maintenance. If you wish to receive our current conference letters, please send an E-Mail to:

Here you can find a short description of the project 'Recovery of Maintenance in the EU and Worldwide' as a pdf file.

Europaflagge, funded by European Union

Conclusions & Recommendations of the Heidelberg Conference 2013
„International Recovery of Maintenance in the EU and Worldwide”

Over 230 Experts from all stakeholder groups in the field of child support and other forms of family maintenance came together in Heidelberg on 5 to 8 March 2013: judges, lawyers, case workers, academics, representatives from governments and the private sector from 43 countries all around the world.

The participants of the Heidelberg Conference examined and discussed the law on child support and other forms of family maintenance from international, legal, sociological, ethical, social and social policy perspectives. The legal issues of the EU Regulation No 4/2009, the 2007 Hague Convention on the International Recovery of Child Support and other Forms of Family Maintenance as well as the 2007 Hague Protocol on the Law Applicable to Maintenance Obligations were debated in detail. The question of private international law and the practical issues of cross-border recovery of maintenance were vividly addressed. There was a lively exchange about the different national child support systems and their functionality.

The pleasure of the togetherness in this broad variety of expertise and provenience and the vitality of the conversations created a special atmosphere throughout the conference. And the debates continued after the conference:

Participants and project partners avidly worked together on a paper in which they came up with conclusions and recommendations for improvements in the cross-border recovery and for amendments in the international instruments – the EU Regulation No 4/2009 and the 2007 Hague Convention. In addition, they described the next steps to take towards an established and strengthened cooperation of the worldwide community of international recovery of child support and other forms of family maintenance.

In that respect, the Conclusions & Recommendations of the participants of the Heidelberg Conference 2013 are a starting point for a global network of all those who want to be part of it. Let’s join in!

Conclusions & Recommendations of the Heidelberg Conference 2013


On behalf of all the partners Dr. Thomas Meysen Professional Director of the German Institute for Youth Human Services and Family Law