Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Japan - New Law on Choice of Law

Japan's new law on the choice of law is now in effect. It supersedes the law known as the "Horei
Law." The new law is entitled the "Ho no Tekiyo ni Kansuru Tsusoku," meaning "Law on the General Rules of Application of Laws."

It will have a significant effect on international family law cases concerning Japan, as well as in commercial matters.

The law is available in English on my website at http://www.international-divorce.com/horei_law.htm

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Prenuptial Agreement Upheld in Singapore

The Singapore High Court has enforced a prenuptial agreement entered into in the Netherlands between a Swedish wife and a Dutch husband. TQ v. TR, [2007] SGHC 106; decision date July 11, 2007.

The couple had lived together in England, had moved for a short time to the Netherlands, where they had married and executed the prenuptial agreement under Dutch law before a notary who had acted for both of them. They had then returned to live in England before moving to Singapore with their three children and had then remained in Singapore. The prenuptial agreement provided that there was to be no community of assets and that each spouse would keep his or her own assets.

The Court found that the wife was not domiciled in the Netherlands, so that Dutch law would not govern the division of matrimonial property. Accordingly it looked to Singapore law and specifically to the “Women’s Charter.” Section 112 of Singapore's Women’s Charter empowers the courts to order such division of matrimonial assets as they deem “just and equitable” and requires the courts to consider a host of specified factors in making that decision. Such factors include “any agreement between the parties with respect to the ownership and division of the matrimonial assets made in contemplation of divorce.”

The court awarded “maintenance” (i.e. alimony or spousal support) in the form of a lump sum in the full amount that the wife requested, as well as child support. It then upheld the prenuptial agreement in light of those apparently generous awards.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Pre-Nuptial Agreements: New York Tolls the Statute of Limitations

The New York legislature has passed a law that clears up what had been an enormous problem concerning the enforcement of prenuptial agreements in New York. New Section 250 of the Domestic Relations Law now provides that the three year statute of limitations for commencing an action or asserting a defense that arises from a pre-nuptial or post nuptial agreement is tolled until service of process has been completed in a divorce action or until one of the parties dies. In other words, a party does not have to take any steps to dispute a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement until a divorce or annulment case has been commenced – and even then has three years within which to assert it. (Of course, a litigant should not wait that long but should assert the defense once the case is commenced).

Friday, July 06, 2007

Mum fights for abducted baby's return

We represent this English mother whose baby was taken from Texas to Mexico

A young mother has told of her living hell after her baby son was abducted by his father.

Samantha Lowry, who is from Swindon and now lives in the US state of Texas, hasn't seen her three-month-old son Sebastian for six weeks.

She is desperately worried about the safety of her child, who was taken without her permission to Mexico by his father, 40-year-old Daniel Pavon-Cuellar.

She had only two months to get to know Sebastian and has described the weeks since his disappearance as torture.

Speaking from the city of Austin last night, Samantha said: "It is hell. The worse thing is not knowing if Sebastian is safe. If a child is in danger in the UK the authorities remove the baby straight away, but in Mexico it's much more complicated.

"It's a complete nightmare. Sometimes it is too much to cope with and I can't bear it, but you can't give up hope."

The Lowry family are in Austin supporting Samantha with her fight to get Sebastian back.

Sister Jemima, 21, described how Sebastian was allegedly taken from Samantha.

She said the baby's father insisted on seeing his son after the couple split up.

Jemima says that when Samantha arrived at his home in Austin on May 25, he allegedly pushed her out of the house and locked the door.

It is then alleged Samantha rushed across to a neighbour's house to phone the police, but while she was inside Mr Pavon-Cuellar sped off in his car with Sebastian.

He allegedly phoned Samantha 30 hours later from Mexico and ordered her to meet with him or never see Sebastian again.

Jemima says 24-year-old Samantha, who was awarded sole custody of Sebastian, is trying desperately to get him back.

"She is staying strong - she knows she has to for Sebastian's sake," Jemima said. "Every day she has to fight for her son."

The FBI has issued a warrant for the arrest of Mr Pavon-Cuellar. A picture of Sebastian and his father has been posted on the US National Centre for Missing and Exploited Children.

The family have asked South Swindon MP Anne Snelgrove for help.

Mrs Snelgrove contacted the Foreign Secretary's Office and Child Abduction Unit and raised the case at Prime Minister's Question Time while Tony Blair was still in power.

Mr Blair replied that "full consular support" was being provided to the family in both Houston and Mexico City.

Samantha has also begged for Foreign Secretary David Miliband to intervene.

"Please, please help my baby," she appealed. " I beg you to do whatever you can to encourage the Mexican Government to return Sebastian safely."

8:37am today

By Gazette Reporter