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Latvia

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Latvia

1. International Family Mediation

Family mediation, in Latvia, is legally recognised. The Latvia Mediation Law contains legal norms on certain aspects of mediation in civil matters. According to the Law, the main structure responsible in assisting parties to find the appropriate mediators is the Council of Certified Mediators (website is in Latvian and Russian, but languages of communication with mediators are English, Latvian and Russian).

Although international family mediation is recognised in Latvia, there is no structure specialised on cross-border family mediation. However, the Network of Cross-border Family Mediators has created a global database which identifies expert family mediators who specialise in cross-border family conflict.

1) Latvia is Party to the 1980 Hague Convention.

The 1980 Hague Convention: a multilateral treaty which provides procedural guidelines on the return of children and their protection in cases of international parental child abduction.

Contact the Central Authority established in Latvia for cases of child abduction (operational languages: Latvian, English, German and Russian).

2) Latvia is Party to the 1996 Hague Convention.

The 1996 Hague Convention: a multilateral treaty which covers civil measures of protection concerning children, parental responsibility and contact, children's property, public measures of protection or care and matters of representation.

Contact the Central Authority established in Latvia for cases of dispute concerning cross border parental responsibilities and rights of contact with children (operational languages: Latvian, English and Russian).

3) Latvia is a Party to the Brussels IIA Regulation.

Brussels IIA: a legal instrument of the European Union to help resolve family disputes involving more than one country, over divorce, all parental responsibilities and, in particular, the custody of children. Brussels IIA is a regulation applicable to all European Union Member states (except Denmark). The regulation prevails over the 1996 Hague Convention in cases where the child’s habitual residence is within a European Union Member state (except Denmark). Please be aware that if a decision on access and/or custody rights is taken by a court from the European Union, the regulation foresees that a State Party to the 1996 Hague Convention must recognise the court decision.

Contact the Central Authority established in Latvia designated under the 1996 Hague Convention for cases of dispute concerning cross-border parental responsibilities and rights of contact with children (operational languages: Latvian, English and Russian).

You can determine whether countries relevant to your case are Parties, or not, to the 1980 Hague Convention on International Child Abduction, the 1996 Hague Convention on Child Protection and/or Brussels IIA (except Denmark) in order to locate the appropriate central authority. As for the 1980 Hague Convention, you can check whether the Convention is in force between two specific States in the Spreadsheet showing acceptances of accessions to the Child Abduction Convention.

The Legal Aid Administration (LAA) is an institution under the Ministry of Justice that ensures access to legal protection for low-income and needy persons through the provision of guaranteed state legal aid.

In many Latvian cities, you can find departments that provide material support for families or persons of poor and low-income. To find a public social service in your town, please search for “Social Affairs Department”, “Social Care Department” or “Social Service” (in Latvian: Sociālais dienests). For example, there are the Riga Social Service (website is in Latvian and Russian) and the Department of Social Affairs of Daugavpils City.

The Resource Centre for Women MARTA is a non-governmental organisation that provides support to women in Latvia – non-citizens and migrants, women with low income and unemployed women, female victims of human trafficking and of domestic violence. You can contact them directly by that here.

4. Child Welfare Services

The European Network of Ombudspersons for Children (ENOC) is a non-profit association of independent children’s rights institutions (click on Latvia in the list of country-members).

The Association of Latvian Orphan Courts provides here information about international cooperation regarding the children’s matters such as child illegal movement across the border (website is in Latvian).

Center Dardedze provides counselling to children and families who have suffered from abuse, as well as support to families of the child. You can directly contact the Center here.

Social Services Agency provides social and psychological assistance, counselling, support and fostering for families and children in crisis situations. Please contact them here.

SOS Children's Villages in Latvia provide Family Strengthening Programme to support families who are at risk of breaking down and work directly with families and communities so that they can protect and look after their children. You can contact them directly here.

5. Support to Bi-national Couples, Cross-cultural and Migrant Families

The Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs is responsible for issuing identity and travel documents, implementing state migration policy, including development and implementing repatriation and asylum policy.

The Shelter “Safe House” provides services to victims of human trafficking, legal immigrants, including asylum seekers, refugees and persons granted subsidiary protection status. The resource provides information about all aspects of social life relevant to immigrants in Latvia (e.g. stay, employment, education, mastering Latvian language, social security, housing, general information about Latvia, etc.). Choose your category in the text here.

Caritas Latvia works with migrants, asylum seekers and refugees assisting them in integrating into society (website is in Latvian).

Some of the hyperlinks you will find in the texts of this section lead you to websites available only in the native language of the country chosen. Copy the URL-address and paste it in Google Translate, choose your language and click on “translate” to find the whole website available.