Child custody disputes can always be difficult and stressful, but they are especially challenging when your ex-spouse attempts to take your child to another country. This could even be a ploy to punish you or to prevent you from seeing your child. Under these circumstances, you will want to speak with a divorce lawyer.
Keeping Your Child in the Country
If your child is very young, they will not be able to contact you if they need you. This can be terrifying for a parent who doesn't know if the child is okay or where he or she is at the moment. Therefore, you'll want to keep your child in the United States if you can.
The Role of an Attorney
An attorney will be able to represent your interests across international borders. You may even have a difficult time finding out where your ex-spouse currently lives, and your attorney may be able to track him or her down. Once your child has been located, your attorney will try to negotiate a voluntary return of your child.
Your attorney will help you make use of the Hague Convention. This is an international treaty that deals with child abductions. There is a process by which an abducted child can be returned to his or her country, but it is only relevant for those countries who are a part of the treaty.
While your child is in the United States, custody will be handled by the laws of your state. However, other countries do not have to abide by US law. Also, the child might spend time in both countries, and it can be difficult to determine which state has jurisdiction.
Some jurisdictions have a tendency to grant custody to the mother. Other jurisdictions are more likely to grant custody to the father. Knowing what to expect from the international court can help you prepare better.
Keeping in Touch With Your Child
Even if you do not have custody of your child, you will want to take time to keep in contact with your child by contacting them and sending pictures. If possible, video chat regularly with your child. Your child will still benefit from having you in their life even if you are not able to be physically present.
However, any communication with your ex-spouse should be done carefully so you do not jeopardize your case. If you're not sure if a statement you make can affect your case, make sure to talk to your family law attorney.
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