Our world is more interconnected than we are likely aware or believe. Technology has eased our ability to travel. The adaption to “work from home” has also allowed people to live in places entirely separate from where they work. While the ability to travel and see the world as a family offers great and unprecedented opportunities, there is also the chance that it can place a strain on a family. With that in mind, it is always important to understand what protections the law may afford you and your family, if you and your spouse or partner decide to separate when abroad or in another state.
Just like each situation is factually unique, the application of the laws discussed below will be unique to each set of facts. Seeking return of a child to his/her habitual residence is vastly different than determining which state has jurisdiction to deal with the issues of custody and visitation. That being said, a basic understanding of what remedies are available can help provide some guidance.
The determination of which state has jurisdiction over the issues of custody and visitation is dependent on the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Enforcement Act (“UCCJEA”). A uniform law adopted by 49 U.S. states, the District of Columbia, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, the UCCJEA offers a way to deal with abduction and retention issues by giving a left-behind parent tools to deal with both jurisdictional and enforcement issues.
International Child Abduction
The 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction is designed to protect children and promote prompt return of abducted children to their state of habitual residence. Filing a return application under the 1980 Convention might be the fastest remedy available to you. There are approximately 101 contracting parties to the Convention, so an important first step is to determine whether the countries involved are contracting parties. If the country you are seeking a return from is not a contracting party, there are likely still remedies available to you.
As stated above, with the world becoming more interconnected each day, the issues dealt with in family court are becoming increasingly complex, particularly as family disputes now have interstate or international dynamics. If you are faced with a custody or visitation matter that crosses either interstate or international boarders, it is crucial that you find an attorney who has experience in dealing with these nuanced issues, and I am happy to consult with you regarding these matters.
Blog post by attorney Jonathan Lounsberry. Click here to read more about Jonathan.
The posts on this website/blog are published as a service to our clients and friends. They are intended to provide general information only and should not be construed to be formal legal advice regarding any specific situation and should not be construed as forming an attorney-client relationship. Success in the past does not indicate the likelihood of success in any future representation.