Key facts of the case:
Reference for a preliminary ruling — Judicial cooperation in civil matters — Jurisdiction, recognition and enforcement of decisions in matters relating to maintenance obligations — Regulation (EC) No 4/2009 — Article 3(a) — Court of the place of habitual residence of the defendant — Article 3(d) — Court with jurisdiction in matters relating to parental responsibility — Article 5 — Appearance of the defendant — Court seised of a divorce petition and of its consequences in matters of parental responsibility and also of maintenance concerning the joint child — Decision of that court declining jurisdiction as regards parental responsibility — Jurisdiction to determine the claim relating to maintenance obligation towards the child — Court best placed to hear the case
Having regard to the foregoing considerations, I propose that the Court answer the questions for a preliminary ruling referred by the Judecătoria Constanța (Court of First Instance, Constanța, Romania) as follows:
- Article 3 of Council Regulation (EC) No 4/2009 of 18 December 2008 on jurisdiction, applicable law, recognition and enforcement of decisions and cooperation in matters relating to maintenance obligations must be interpreted as meaning that the fact that the application relating to the maintenance obligation is ancillary to an application relating to parental responsibility, within the meaning of Article 3(d) of that regulation, does not have the effect of precluding the jurisdiction of the court of a Member State based on Article 3(a) of the regulation or, failing that, on Article 5 of thereof.
- In the absence of specific provisions made by the EU legislature in Regulation No 4/2009, such as those set out Article 15 of Council Regulation (EC) No 2201/2003 of 27 November 2003 concerning jurisdiction and the recognition and enforcement of judgments in matrimonial matters and the matters of parental responsibility, repealing Regulation (EC) No 1347/2000, or ensuring coordination with Article 12 of Regulation No 2201/2003, the court seised may not refuse to exercise its jurisdiction in favour of a court better placed to rule on all the applications concerning the child.