On the Un Convention on the Recovery Abroad of Maintenance 

1.     What is the UN Convention on the Recovery Abroad of Maintenance? What is its purpose?

The UN Convention on the Recovery Abroad of Maintenance was concluded on June 20, 1956 between member countries of the United Nations. Its purpose is to facilitate recovery of maintenance, referred as claimant, from another person, referred as respondent who is subject to the jurisdiction of another contracting Party.

This Convention was enforced because of the need of solving the situations wherein a person is dependent of maintenance from another person who is abroad.

a.     What rights, benefits does the Convention on the Recovery Abroad of Maintenance provide?

The Convention provides an additional venue for the persons seeking maintenance from another person through which they can pursue their claim for support. This convention does not exclude nor substitute, but add, the remedies available under municipal laws and international laws.

2.     To what countries does the convention apply?

A-B

 

Participant 2 

Signature

Accession(a), Succession(d), Ratification

Algeria

10 Sep 1969 a

Argentina

29 Nov 1972 a

Australia

12 Feb 1985 a

Austria

21 Dec 1956 

16 Jul 1969 

Barbados

18 Jun 1970 a

Belarus

14 Nov 1996 a

Belgium

 1 Jul 1966 a

Bolivia (Plurinational State of)

20 Jun 1956 

Bosnia and Herzegovina 3 

 1 Sep 1993 d

Brazil

31 Dec 1956 

14 Nov 1960 

Burkina Faso

27 Aug 1962 a

 

 3.     How can they avail of the benefits/rights in the convention?

The procedure for availing of the benefits is as follows (in this order; according to Section 3 of the Convention)

1. The claimant would make an application with the Transmitting Agency of his State for the recovery of maintenance from the respondent;

2. The application shall include the following:

a. the full name, address, date of birth, nationality, and occupation of the claimant, and the name and address of any legal representative of the claimant;

b. the full name of the respondent, and, so far as known to the claimant his addresses during the preceding five years, date of birth, nationality and occupation;
c. particulars of the grounds upon which the claim is based and of the relief sought, and any other relevant information such as the financial and family circumstances of the claimant and the respondent.

3. Such application shall be accompanied by the necessary supporting documents and a power of attorney if need be, authorizing the receiving agency to act on behalf of the claimant. A photograph of the claimant and respondent may also be required;

4. The Transmitting Agency, having been previously informed by each of the contracting parties as to the evidence normally required under the law of the State of the Receiving Agency for the proof of maintenance claims of the manner in which such evidence should be submitted and other requirements, shall take all reasonable steps to ensure that the requirements of the law of the State of the Receiving Agency are complied with.

a.     Who are the persons entitled to maintenance?

Persons who are entitled to maintenance are called Claimants. They are persons residing in the territory of one of the Contracting Party who has a claim to another person (respondent) who is subject to the jurisdiction of another Contracting Party.

 b.    Who are the persons obligated to pay for maintenance?

Under the Convention, the one obligated to pay for the maintenance is the parent or spouse from which the other spouse claims support for the maintenance of the dependent children.

 c.     Where can it be filed?

Each signatory or contracting party to the Convention is required to designate one or more judicial or administrative authorities to act as Transmitting Agencies within its jurisdiction or territory. Claimants may file applications for the recovery of maintenance or support with such designated Transmitting Agencies within their respective jurisdictions or territories.

Section 5 of Republic Act No. 8369, or The Family Courts Act of 1997, provides that Family Courts shall have exclusive original jurisdiction to hear and decide cases involving petitions for support. The enforcement of final judgments or orders issued by Philippine Family Courts, however, are necessarily subject to the laws of the State of the respondent with respect to the effect of foreign judgments or final orders. It must be noted that claimants or petitioners may avail of provisional remedies to enforce any judgments or orders issued by Philippine courts against any property located in the Philippines belonging to the foreign respondent.

In our case, since the Office of the Solicitor General is designated as the Transmitting Agency, one claiming for support must file their respective application to OSG.

 d.    Are there fees to be paid? If yes, how much?

No, there is no cost involved. In Article 9 of the convention, it said that Transmitting and Receiving Agencies shall not charge any fees in respect of services rendered under this Convention.

e.     Who is the receiving agency? What is its role?

The Receiving Agency is the public or private body designated by the contracting party at the time when the instrument of ratification or accession is deposited

The Receiving Agency takes on behalf of the claimant, all appropriate steps for the recovery of maintenance, including the settlement of the claim and, where necessary, the institution and prosecution of an action for maintenance and the execution of any order or other judicial act for the payment of maintenance, subject always to the authority given by the claimant.

           

The Receiving Agency keeps the Transmitting Agency currently informed. If it is unable to act, it shall inform the Transmitting Agency of its reasons and return the documents.

In the Philippines, the Office of the Solicitor General was designated as the Receiving Agency.

4.       What is needed for an application for maintenance?

(a)     In case of a claim of one spouse against another for the maintenance/support of claimant and his/her dependent children:

a.        Proof of Marriage:

1.     Marriage contract attested by officer having legal custody of the record and accompanied, if the record is not kept in the Philippines a certificate that such officer has the custody.

b.       Filiation of dependent children

1.     Certificate of birth issued by the local civil registrar attested by officer having legal custody of the record and accompanied, if the record is not kept in the Philippines a certificate that such officer has the custody.

c.        Law of country or state of respondent providing for such maintenance

(b)     In case the claim is evidence by some private writing or agreement signed by parties, said should have been duly acknowledged and authenticated

5.       Where can an action for maintenance be filed?

A: If the claimant and the respondent reside in two different States, the claimant may file an action for maintenance to a Transmitting Agency in the State where claimant resides

6.       Who may render judgment on an application for maintenance?

A: If the parties cannot agree upon maintenance, either part can apply to court for a maintenance order. Applications for maintenance are decided on by a competent tribunal of any of the Contracting Parties.

7.       How can a judgment for maintenance be executed?

A: Under Article 5 of the Convention, the Transmitting Agency shall, at the request of the claimant, transmit, any order, final or provisional, and any other judicial act, obtained by the claimant for the payment of maintenance in a competent tribunal of any of the Contracting Parties, and, where necessary and possible, the record of the proceedings in which such order was made.

After transmittal in accordance with the preceding paragraph, execution of a judgment for maintenance is made depending on the law of the State of the Receiving Agency. Support Orders can be executed in a simplified mannerby  service  of the judgment  followed  by  executory  sale  of  assets.  In  addition  to  seizure,  followed  by  sale  of the debtor's  assets for the  amount  of the  arrears,  judgment may be enforced as liens on the salaries and or wages of the respondent, and can be  levied upon the respondent’s employer.

8.     By whom?

A: The marshal of the court of the country in which the respondent resides executes the judgment. However, The Receiving Agency shall, subject always to the authority given by the claimant, take, on behalf of the claimant, all appropriate steps for the recovery of maintenance, including the settlement of the claim and, where necessary, the institution and prosecution of an action for maintenance and the execution of any order or other judicial act for the payment of maintenance.

9.     If I am in a territory of one of the signatory parties to the Convention, can I recover maintenance from another person who is in another signatory-party? How can it be facilitated?

A: Yes, Article 3 of the UN Convention on the Recovery Abroad of Maintenance provides that if the claimant and the respondent reside in different states, both of which are signatory parties, the claimant may make an application to a Transmitting Agency in the State of the claimant for the recovery of maintenance from the respondent.

What each party needs to do is to inform the Secretary-General of three things: (1) the evidence normally required under the law of the State of the Receiving Agency for the proof of maintenance claims; (2) the manner in which such evidence should be submitted; and (3) the other requirements that should be complied with.

This application should be accompanied by all the relevant documents and it is the Transmitting Agency who has the task of ensuring that the requirements of the law of the State of the Receiving Agency are complied with. If satisfied that the application is made in good faith, the Transmitting Agency shall transmit the documents to the Receiving Agency of the State of the respondent. Judgments and other judicial acts may, upon the request of the claimant, be also transmitted.

On the other hand, it is the task of the Receiving Agency to take all appropriate steps for the recovery of maintenance, including the settlement of the claim and, where necessary, the institution and prosecution of an action for maintenance and the execution of any order or other judicial act for the payment of maintenance. Also, the Receiving Agency must always keep the Transmitting Agency informed and if it is unable to act, it should inform the Transmitting Agency of its reasons and return all the documents.

Lastly, in the determination of all questions arising from the proceedings, it is the law of the State of the Respondent, including its private international law, which will be applied. 

10.     If I apply in a foreign signatory-party am I required because of my status as an alien or non-resident, to furnish any bond or make any payment or deposit as a security for costs?

No, claimant shall not be required to furnish any bond or security. Transmitting and Receiving agencies shall not charge any fee in respect for services rendered under this convention.

11.     Are the remedies present in the Convention exclude the remedies available under international and domestic laws?

A: The remedies provided for in this Convention are in addition to, and not in substitution for, any remedies available under municipal or international law.

(Source: UN Convention on the Recovery Abroad of Maintenance, http://www.unhcr.org/refworld/country,,,,,,3dda24184,0.html,)

Office of the Solicitor General