Although domestic child custody cases can be complicated, they are even more complex when these disputes cross international waters. In Southern California, many children are being born to parents who are citizens of different countries. When a parent moves—or wishes to move—to another country, child custody matters can be perplexing, to say the least.
At Gill Law Group, PC, our Orange County family lawyers can handle international custody matters. With an extensive knowledge of international family laws, we offer thorough guidance in the complexities of the legal system and protect your rights throughout the process. You don’t have to take action alone, let us help you get you the best results possible.
There are many cases in which a parent removes a child from his/her home country without the parent’s consent. Fortunately, there are two laws that can help resolve the issue: the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction (Hague Convention) and the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Act (UCCJA).
Applying only to countries which have adopted the law, the Hague Convention addresses the legal process for the return of the child from one of the signatory countries. So if a parent commits a custody violation or wrongfully removes the child to a foreign country, the other parent may file a custody action in local court, request the court to enforce the Hague Convention. The child must be a habitual resident in a signatory nation prior to the filing and that he/she was wrongfully removed to a different signatory country.
According to the UCCJA, the California court must treat another nation as if it were part of the United States. In other words, a foreign-court decision will be granted in California, unless it violates human rights. The state where the child lives (now or spanning at least six months) has continuing responsibility for his/her custody.
It is important to understand that the jurisdiction of the court which initially established custody carries substantial weight in international law proceedings. This means that the same court is considered the proper court to make custody decision later on—unless the parents and child lose all connection with that court upon moving elsewhere.
Child custody disputes involving different countries can result in an arduous court battle. Our Orange County family law attorneys are dedicated to finding favorable outcomes in these cases. Our goal is to protect your relationship with your child and act in the child’s best interests.
For more information about international laws, contact us and request a complimentary consultation today.