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Resolving complicated international child custody matters

Child custody can be one of the most complex issues in a divorce. Both parents probably have strong opinions about where the child should live, who should get to make decisions for the child and how much parenting time he or she should get. Custody and visitation matters are often emotionally charged and difficult to navigate, particularly when one parent moved or intends to move out of the country.

International child custody questions usually emerge in a divorce involving one parent who was born abroad, has family in another country or works in another country. If international custody issues will affect your divorce or you suspect that your spouse will try to take your child out of the country at some point, it is prudent to know your rights. You may also find great benefit in seeking help in dealing with your custody concerns.

Custody across borders

Perhaps your spouse told you he or she plans to move out of the United States or has plans to seek custody and then take your child abroad. It's normal to feel frightened, even helpless, over the fact that your child could potentially end up thousands of miles away from you.

If the other parent takes your child across borders without your knowledge or consent or in violation of the child custody order, the Hague Convention will probably apply to your case. This convention allows you to seek the safe return of your child to the United States. The treaty, which most nations are part of, allows for the following legal actions:

  • It compels the other party to return the child to the United States in an expedient manner.
  • It ensures that foreign courts respect and follow the custody laws of other countries.

Protecting your rights

If your custody order is from the United States, then the country to which the other parent took your child is likely to abide by the terms of the U.S. custody order. The intent of this treaty is to protect the rights and interests of children as well as to prevent parents from ignoring custody orders and violating the other parent's rights.

Whether you have yet to draft your custody plan, you suspect there could be an issue in the future or your spouse has intentions of taking your child to live in another country, you do not have to face these complex matters alone. It is in your interests to speak with a Texas attorney who has experience in international child custody cases. With guidance, you can fight to protect your child from unnecessary upheaval and secure custody terms that will allow for stability and security.

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