Like many couples, you may have an interesting story about how you met. Perhaps you knew each other from the office, met online or were introduced through common friends. Maybe it felt like fate that your paths crossed while you were traveling out of the country.
Whatever the situation, it may have seemed fun and exciting, especially if your new partner was not from the United States. Learning new customs and perhaps a different language may have added spice to your relationship, and despite the differences between you, marriage was the next logical step. Now that your marriage is ending, those differences may seem more worrisome than exciting, particularly if you suspect your spouse intends to take your children out of the country.
Finding the right kind of help
International custody disputes are not uncommon, but they are certainly stressful and upsetting. When the other parent violates a custody order and takes your children to a foreign country, you may feel helpless. But international law does provide some protections for parents in this situation. If your primary concern is for the safety of your children and their prompt return to the U.S., you need the right kind of assistance.
Your first step may be to seek the counsel of a family law attorney experienced with cases involving international custody issues. Questions to ask when an attorney when you interview them include these:
- Do you have a firm grasp of The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction [which is the international treaty created to deal with international abductions and custody disputes]?
- What are my options if my spouse’s country is not part of The Hague Convention?
- Can you help me understand the uniform child abduction acts and any Texas state laws that apply to my current circumstances?
- Are you familiar with the customs, religious beliefs and laws of [my spouse’s country]?
- Do you have the resources to help me locate my children if necessary?
What happens next?
You may have to travel to your spouse’s country to work through the legal process of enforcing international abduction laws through the courts. In some cases, international custody disputes take some time to resolve. However, with a skilled and experienced attorney, you may have a better chance of a swift and positive resolution to this difficult situation.