Child Custody Across International Borders

Child Custody Across International Borders

Child Custody Across International Borders

Custody disputes are never easy to solve. Often, the laws regarding child custody are complex. However, the laws regarding child custody across international borders are even more complicated. If your custody dispute involves moving to a foreign country, then the issue is as complex as it gets. Here’s everything that you should know about international child custody cases.

Example of Child Custody Across International Borders

Before you can understand the laws behind child custody across international borders, you should understand the issue. Here’s a real-life example of an international child custody dispute:

David Goldman is from Monmouth, New Jersey. However, he found himself on an international search for his son. He ended up in the Rio de Janeiro airport, hoping to take his son Sean home to the US. In Goldman’s case, it all started when his son’s mother took Sean to Brazil. She never came back to the US. While in Brazil, she divorced David Goldman. Then, she remarried and died while having her husband’s child. After her death, her husband wanted to raise Sean. But David wanted the right to raise his own son in his own country.

After a lengthy legal battle, Brazil’s Supreme Court decided to give David his son back. However, the fight was a long one. It involved some complex laws and took years of legal battles to get the result that David wanted.

What Laws Affect International Custody Disputes?

When there is a custody dispute inside the borders of the US, there is a uniform guide for states to follow. However, it is only a guide. State courts can choose to follow the guide or to ignore it. Instead, the state court follows its own laws regarding child custody.

On an international level, things are even more complex. However, there are a few details that can simplify things for you. Here are some specifics that you should know about child custody across international borders:

1. The Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction

There is a law in place to protect you during international custody disputes. Although its full term is the Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, you might know of it as the Hague Convention. As an international law, the Hague Convention prevents international kidnappings. However, it only applies in countries that signed the convention. There are some countries that offer children and their parents no protection if kidnapping occurs.  Additionally, it only applies to children who are 16 years of age or younger.

If one parent tries to leave the country without permission from the other, then it is kidnapping. As such, the Hague Convention protects the child. The law enforcement of the foreign country will attempt to relocate your child and get him back to you. Prior to this agreement, there was no guarantee that a country would cooperate.

2. The Uniform Child Abduction Protection Act

In some states, there is a Uniform Child Abduction Protection Act. This act protects parents who worry that the other parent might abduct their child. However, you need to take action to make use of this law. First, you need to file a petition under the act. In that petition, you need to list your concerns. Then, a judge can restrict your ex’s ability to run off with your child.

For this act to apply, you need to have a custody order already or have a hearing scheduled. You also need to live in a state that complies with the act. If you don’t, then it offers you no protection.

3. It’s Easier to Fight for Your Child in the Other Country

If your ex has your child in another country, then you might need to consider relocating there temporarily. International custody disputes can be difficult and lengthy. Fighting the battle from the US is almost impossible. If you want a good chance at fighting for your child, then you might need to relocate. In addition to making the legal battle easier, it also allows you to stay in touch with your child.

4. Understand the Foreign Laws

When you’re dealing with child custody across international borders, you should understand the country’s laws. First, you should know if the country signed the Hague Convention. If they did, then you have a good chance of getting your child back. But there’s always hope, even if the country did not sign.

You should also familiarize yourself with custody dispute laws in the country. In some areas of the world, cultural beliefs impact their custody decisions. For example, some countries prefer to give mothers sole physical custody. If your ex takes your child to a country with such a preference, then you should prepare yourself. You might be in for a difficult battle.

No matter what your situation might be, you need a lawyer. If you speak to a child custody lawyer, then he can prepare you. You can learn what you need to do to get your child back in the US.

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