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Maintenance in Conflict of Laws: A note on the application of the German illegitimacy law and the Hague Maintenance Convention of 1956*

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  21 May 2009

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Copyright © T.M.C. Asser Press 1976

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1. The judicial decisions of several European Contracting States concerning this Convention are mentioned in Sumampouw, M., Les nouvelles Conventions de La Haye. Leur application par les juges nationaux, Leyden, 1976, pp. 43183.Google Scholar

2. Art. 1 para 1.: The law of the place of habitual residence of the child shall determine whether, to what extent, and from whom, the child may claim maintenance.

Art. 6: The Convention shall apply only to cases where the law indicated by article 1 is that of one of the Contracting States.

The Convention entered into force for the Netherlands on 14 December 1962 and for Germany on 1 January 1962.

3. Art. 1600a BGB: The paternity of illegitimate children may be established either by acknowlegdment or by a judicial decision having effect inter omnes. The legal consequences of paternity can be asserted only from the date of said establishment, as far as statutory law does not specify otherwise.

4. BGH 28.2.1973 – IV ZR 146/72, NJW 1973, 948; BGH 21.9.1973 – IV ZR 146/72, NJW 1973, 948.

5. KG 30.9.1974 – 3 W 994/74, FamRZ 1975, 54; OLG Munich 16.12.1974 – 20 U 3937/74, FamRZ 1975, 284.

6. BGH 30.10.1974 – IV ZR 18/73, NJW 1975, 114 with note F. Sturm in NJW 1975, 493; BGH 4.2.1976 – IV ZR 40/75, NJW 1976, 1028.

7. Siehr, K., Die Vaterschaftsfeststellung im deutschen IPR. Ein Ueberblick über die deutsche Rechtsprechung der ersten beiden Jahre nach Inkrafttreten des Nichtehelichtengesetzes, Davorm 1973, pp. 125152.Google ScholarSonnenberger, H.J., Vaterschaftsfeststellung und Unterhaltsanspruch imlnternationalen Privatrecht, Famrz 1973, pp. 553558.Google Scholar F. Sturm, op.cit. Kropholler, J., Die Kollisionsregeln des BGH für die Feststellung und Anerkennung der Vaterschaft, NJW 1976, p. 10111013.Google Scholar

8. Sturm, op.cit.

9. Kropholler, op.cit.

10. Cf. KG. 30.9.1974 – 3 W 994/74, FamRZ 1975, 54.

11. Art. 5: This Convention shall not apply to maintenance relations between collaterals.

It shall govern only conflict of laws concerning maintenance obligations. Decisions rendered in application of this Convention shall be without prejudice to questions of affiliation or to family relationships between the claimant and the respondent.

12. The Court incorrectly declared the Hague Convention inapplicable on the grounds that the respondent was a Yugoslav national, and Yugoslavia is not a Contracting State. The Roermond Court was not, however, the only one to hold this view. (See District Court of The Hague, 24 January 1972, AK 7034; District Court of Amsterdam, 18 December 1972, AK 7741; District Court of Amsterdam, 31 August 1973, AK 8121; District Court of Amsterdam, 29 November 1973, AK 8246; District Court of Arnhem, 27 June 1974, AK 8671). Even after ten years had elapsed since the Convention entered into force, the parties' nationality still appears to play a part. As regards the geographic scope of the Convention, there are no other conditions than that the claimant has his habitual residence in a Contracting State (art. 6). The parties' nationality would only be relevant if The Netherlands had invoked article 2 of the Convention, which is not the case. See also note 15.

13. Bergmann, A./Ferid, M., Internationales Ehe- und Kindschaftsrecht, 4th ed., 1969Google Scholar, Jugoslawien, p. 45, note 5.Google Scholar

14. See d'Oliveira, H.U. Jessurun, WPNR 1975, p. 453.Google Scholar

15. This conflicts rule is now no longer valid, any more than was the national law of the child which was applied by the Roermond District Court in the case against the Yugoslav respondent (15 November 1973, AK 8266). The current ordinary conflicts rule is the law of the child's habitual residence: District Court of Rotterdam, 1 June 1964, NJ 1965, 243; Court of Appeal of Amsterdam, 9 06 1964Google Scholar, NJ 1966; 68; District Court of Haarlem, 7 December 1965, NJ 1966, 312; District Court of Leeuwarden, 5 05 1966Google Scholar, NJ 1967, 136; Court of Appeal of Arnhem, 31 01 1967Google Scholar, NJ 1967, 447; District Court of Amsterdam, 7 12 1967, NJ 1968, 169Google Scholar; District Court of Rotterdam, 14 10 1968Google Scholar, NJ 1969, 363; District Court of Amsterdam, 12 12 1968Google Scholar, AK 4777; District Court of Haarlem, 7 11 1969Google Scholar, AK 4502; District Court of Almelo, 24 04 1969Google Scholar, AK 5039; District Court of The Hage, 24 01 1972Google Scholar, AK 7034; District Court of Amsterdam, 18 12 1972Google Scholar, AK 7741; District Court of Middelburg, 7 03 1973Google Scholar, AK 7805; District Court of Amsterdam, 31 08 1973, AK 8124.Google Scholar

16. See also Court of Appeal of Arnhem, 27 10 1971Google Scholar, NJ 1972, 71; Court of Appeal of The Hague, 26 April 1973, AK 7898.

17. Conférence de La Haye de droit international privé, Documents relative à la Huitième Session, 1957, p. 129.Google Scholar

18. BGH 19.3.1975 – IV ZR 28/74; NJW 1975, 1069. The litigation concerned the acknowledgment of an illegitimate child. The rule proclaimed by the BGH mentioned in note 4 and 6 is the same as in the case of a declaration of paternity by court order. The BGH held that the acknowledgment is governed by Gennan law if the child has his habitual residence in Germany or if the child is born of a Gennan mother. The legal consequences are, to the extent that German law is not applicable, governed by the law of the nationality of the father.

19. Although in the judgments of the Court of Appeal of Arnhem of 27 October 1971 (NJ 1972, 71) and the Court of Appeal of The Hague of 26 April 1973 (AK 7898), art. 1600a II BGB has not fully been applied either, these judgments cannot be brought under the category of decisions no. 4, since the words “under these circumstances” obviously refer to the Dutch nationality of the father on which ground the Court apparently justified the restricted application of art. 1600a II BGB. This also appears from the judgment of the Court of Appeal of Arnhem of 7 November 1973 (NJ 1974, 248) in which, in a case involving a German father, art. 1600a II was applied in full.

20. Cf. d'Oliveira, H.U. Jessurun, WPNR 1975, p. 452.Google Scholar In the original Dutch version of this article I wrote that in the German litigation one has to make it clear that the declaration of paternity was demanded with the intention to enter a maintenance claim. This was necessary because it depends upon this intention whether German law as the law applicable to the maintenance claim will be applied or a different law. Recent judicial decisions, however, have applied the ruling of the BGH to the declaration of paternity whatever the intention may be (KG 30.9.1974 – 3 W 929/74, FamRZ 1975, 53; KG 30.9.1974 – 3 W 994/74, FamRZ 1975, 54).