Globalization has opened up a plethora of international employment opportunities and many jump at the chance to live and work in a foreign country – an experience of a lifetime. While working abroad professionals might even marry and start a family which can result in complex issues should an international couple separate or divorce, especially if there are children involved. If one parent wants to return to their home country with the kids and the other objects, an international custody dispute is born.
Among divorcing or separating parents who have different countries they call home, there are an increasing number of cases involving one parent unilaterally removing a child from the child’s place of residence to another country with in hopes of becoming the sole custodian. This disappearing act often results in the other parent frantically trying to regain custody of children whisked away, not really knowing what to do or where to turn.
Say for example a wife is born in Norway and later takes a job in Chicago where she meets her future husband and has a child. As marital problems arise she may decide to hop on a plane back home with the child never really planning to return. It could just as easily be the husband who takes the kids home to a foreign country for a visit and decides to stay on.
When international custody cases such as these arise, the first question many ask is which country has jurisdiction? In other words, which country’s law will apply when determining custody? Although every situation is unique and all facts and circumstances will be taken into account, The Hague Convention requires member countries to return children to their country of habitual residence when they are wrongfully removed or retained in another country in breach of the other parent’s custody rights. Furthermore, if the country is a Hague Convention member, the law of the country from which the child is removed determines custody rights. Of course, if the country a child has been removed to is not a member of the Hague Convention, further complexities arise.
If you are facing an international custody dispute, get help today. Contact the international child custody dispute lawyer Ronald L Bell & Associates PC for immediate assistance with your international custody issue.