If you have minor children and are in the midst of a divorce or a custody
battle with a parent who lives in another country, you may face a whole
different set of issues.
Not only do you have to find a way to establish jurisdiction for your child’s
custody in your home state pursuant to the UCCJEA (see the first blog in this month’s series for more information on how
this is done), but you also face the additional risk that whatever a U.S.
court might order, another country may or may not recognize that order.
This is especially scary if a U.S. court gives you custody of your child,
but your child’s non-custodial parent takes your child out of the
country. I can’t imagine a worse nightmare for a parent than knowing
that your child is out of reach and there’s nothing you can do to
get your child back.
To resolve the problem of international child abductions during domestic
disputes, the U.S. and almost 100 other countries have ratified the Hague
Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction (“Hague
Convention”). The Hague Convention aims to protect children from
international abduction by a parent by encouraging the prompt return of
the children back to their country of habitual residence.
The Hague Convention has put into place mechanisms for the prompt return
of abducted children. After a parent files a Hague application for the
return of the child, the country to which the child has been wrongfully
taken must locate the child and return the child to the country of the
child’s habitual residence.
However, in order for the protections against child abduction afforded
by the Hague Convention to apply,
both the country of the child’s habitual residence and the country
to which the child was wrongfully taken must be parties to the Hague Convention. There are a myriad of additional issues to be considered and potential
safeguards to put into place in any child custody proceeding when one
parent lives in a county that is not part of and has not ratified the
If you are facing a custody battle with a former spouse who resides in
a different country and would like to work with one of our experienced
Attorneys, please call
OWENS & PERKINS at480.994.8824 to schedule your free 30 minute consultation.