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Child Custody Where One Parent Lives Outside the United States

Obtaining or modifying a child custody order is a stressful process, even when both parents of a child live in the same community. That stress can become an outright nightmare when the child custody process takes on an international dimension. This can occur when one parent moves outside of the country, or even when still married parents and their child had been dividing time between multiple international locations prior to divorce. It is a situation that is not uncommon with regard to military service personnel stationed abroad, or individuals working or obtaining an education abroad for long periods of time. Such circumstances are a reflection of the increasing globalization of the family unit. In securing or protecting custody rights where there is conflict between the laws of Florida and a foreign country, one will benefit greatly from retaining the services of a skilled and experienced Orlando family law attorney.

Obtaining a Custody Determination in Which One Spouse Has Abducted a Child to a Foreign Country

One of the most common international custody issues is the situation in which one parent takes a child and moves to a foreign country without the other parent’s approval, and without a court order granting permission to do so. This action is called “abduction.” It is extremely stressful because one can’t simply go the a U.S. state court and ask that the court issue an order to the court of a foreign country to order the abductor spouse to return the child to the U.S. International law doesn’t work that way; every country’s laws are the supreme laws of that land.   Fortunately, though, most countries have agreed to a number of conventions designed to determine the law of international child abduction litigation, and to deter parents from abducting children across international boundaries in the first place. For example, there is the Hague Conventionon the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. In addition to conventions, each state has its own Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA). In Florida, the primary purpose of this act is to avoid competition and conflict between the courts of domestic and international jurisdictions that have previously led to abductions occurring. In doing so, the UCCJEA strives to prevent the harmful effects of abduction on the well-being of children. Additionally, Florida’s UCCJEA seeks to:

– Facilitate cooperation between courts;

– Discourage “court shopping” – the practice of exploiting the interstate court system to obtain a favorable child custody determination;

– Avoid duplicative child custody litigation;

– Promote the enforcement of custody determinations in other states; and

– Increase the exchange of information between courts.

 Contact an Experienced Orlando Family Law Attorney Today

If you are faced with the prospect of obtaining or modifying a child custody order in a situation in which your former spouse claims that the law of a foreign country, rather than Florida, should apply to your specific circumstances, you should contact Orlando based Steve W. Marsee, P.A. immediately. Steve W. Marsee, P.A. can help you navigate the complexities of a child custody dispute featuring an international dimension in order to ensure the well being of you and your child.

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