International Child Custody Disputes and The Hague Convention
Due to the global nature of our modern world and America’s presence overseas, international marriages are becoming more and more common. This can present a problem if the couple has a child, they separate, and each chooses to live in a separate country. Most parents will decide who gets custody of a child based on what’s in the child’s best interests, but problems can arise if the parents disagree on that subject. The result of this disagreement can often result in protracted legal sparring and, in some cases, parental kidnapping and taking the child to a foreign land. When this happens, the parent left behind may feel helpless. Fortunately, that parent is not helpless in getting their child returned.
Since the 1980s, the United States has been a signatory of the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction (commonly referred to as the “Hague Convention”), an international treaty drafted in response to the problem of international child abduction. The Hague Convention’s purpose is to deter international child abduction by providing a legal process for the return of wrongfully removed children to their home countries. Once back in their own country, local courts can rule on a child’s custody according to their own statutes. The Hague Convention decides which country’s courts get to resolve a child’s custody based on what they determine to be that child’s “habitual residence.” Habitual residence is usually determined by where the child had been living for the last six months, or so, before being abducted.
If your child has been taken out of the country or your ex wants to take your child out of the country, you’ll need the assistance of a qualified international child custody attorney. Such cases can be quite complex and not a lot of attorneys practice this type of law. If you live in Southern California, San Diego’s Law Office of Thomas M. Huguenor can help you. Call (858) 458-9500 for a free case evaluation.