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When child custody disputes cross international lines

On Behalf of | Mar 25, 2024 | Child Custody and Visitation

In a custody dispute that occurs in multiple states, the child’s home state typically has jurisdiction over the matter. However, things can get a little more complicated when your child moves from California to Canada or Europe. The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of Child Abduction is the statute that deals with international child custody disputes.

An overview of the treaty

The treaty was ratified in 2018 and is recognized by 98 countries. If a child is taken to one of the member countries without the other parent’s permission, that nation is obligated to take steps to ensure the child’s safe return. Furthermore, the laws of the nation where the child was taken are applied in an international child custody dispute. This is important because some foreign countries don’t recognize the rights of unmarried parents or have other rules that might restrict your rights if applied.

Review your custody agreement

It is quite common that your child custody agreement doesn’t allow for your child to be taken out of the state or country without permission. In such a scenario, you could push for sole custody upon your child’s return in addition to other sanctions against the other parent. However, even if the agreement does allow for this to happen, you’re encouraged to assert your rights as soon as possible if you think that your son or daughter is in danger.

The outcome of a child custody dispute will depend largely on the facts of the case and how they relate to state, federal or international laws. A judge will make a ruling that meets the best interest of the child standard. This means that the ruling will ensure that the child’s interests are placed above your own regardless of how you feel about the decision.