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What to know about international child custody cases

| May 16, 2016 | Firm News |

Parents face unique challenges when trying to determine a child custody arrangement that crosses international borders. Whether it involves child custody laws that vary country to country or dealing with a difficult parent, the process can be exhausting and have long-term negative effects if not dealt with properly.

One of the most difficult cases is when one of the parents takes the child out of the country without the other parent’s consent. What can you do if this happens? The parent who wants the child to return may invoke the Hague Convention.

The role of the Hague Convention

The Hague Convention is a treaty that includes the United States as well as a majority of European countries, and other westernized countries. The treaty establishes a legal process for children who were abducted by one of their parents. The goal of the treaty is to help children return to their home countries, where custody disputes will be resolved in local courts.

In order to invoke the Hague Convention, the petitioner has to file an action for custody from the local court, proving that the child was wrongfully removed and that they were a resident in the country before they left for a different nation. But if the other parent can prove that they removed the child due to concerns for their safety and well-being, then the claim of wrongful removal can be rescinded.

Long-distance child custody agreements

Although it is more difficult to have one parent and child in a different country than the other parent, it is possible if both parties are willing to negotiate on custody and visitation rights. Both parents have the option to write up their own long-distance custody agreement or an attorney can create one.

Along with the agreement, parents must consider travel costs, means of transportation, where the child will spend a majority of their time, and which country’s courts any future disputes will be settled in. It is always best to document any agreement to avoid any confusion in the future.

An international child custody dispute often encompasses multiple complex issues, and soliciting the help of an experienced attorney can prove to be an invaluable asset.