Sorting Through International Child Custody Issues
When your child is born, you take on a responsibility of being there for them throughout their life. Your child becomes your world, and you want to give them the best life possible. Your love extends beyond your ability to provide for them financially. You want to be an emotional guardian for their well-being as well.
However, when divorce enter the equation, it becomes increasingly difficult to be as present in your child’s life as you want to be. You may no longer have the access to them that you once did, and you, like many fathers, can feel like you are being punished solely based on not being the mother.
This is why you need the assistance of a family law attorney who can assist in the divorce and child custody process. They can make sure that your rights are protected and that your place in your child’s life is preserved.
Child custody issues can be difficult enough, but adding the element of the laws of another country can add a layer of complication to an already emotionally taxing situation. You may fear the possibility of child abduction, which would make finding your children substantially more difficult.
Because of custody and child abduction jurisdiction law, a parent is not supposed to gain any practical or legal advantage by taking a child to a new country. There is a substantive law on relocation that varies between states and between both the moving parent and you, as the parent staying in the United States.
Specific treaties are in place that allow the United States to garner input on international moves involving child custody: the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction and the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act.
If you are a parent seeking the return of their child from one of the 45 treaty partner countries, the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction is the primary civil law mechanism for you, according to the United States Bureau of Consular Affairs.
The Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act discourages kidnapping by noncustodial parents, which is why it always is important to have a legally-binding custodial agreement in place. When custody is not established, many parents can be under the impression that they can take their children without facing prosecution, when the reality is the opposite.
Even if the exit of the country is under the guise of a vacation, the lack of consent on the travel plans can give you grounds to pursue legal action. This is why it is in the child’s best interest that any travel plans are made honestly with communication among both you and your co-parent.
You may need to fight for your place in your child’s life if you co-parent lives overseas. By working out a parenting plan that respects your place in your child’s life, as well as the place of your co-parent, you can promote the best interests of the child at all times.
If the change in location occurs after a child custody arrangement takes place, it would be necessary for the courts to modify the prior child custody decree, so long as you prove that a chance has occurred in the circumstances of the child.
The burden of proof should not be significant. However, it is imperative that any change that occurs is documented and authorized by the courts, so that you and your co-parent are held to acting in the best interests of your child.