Navigating International Child Custody Issues

It is becoming more and more common for divorces to involve international child custody filings in this new world of globalization and high technologies. Most of these international custody cases entail situations where one parent may illegally take their child to the country of his or her original country. International treaties and federal law through parties such as OCSE (the Office of Child Support Enforcement) govern international custody disputes.

Many of the issues that occur involve child abduction where a parent wrongfully removes a child from his or her country or refuses to honor a court order and return the child to the country of residence. From time to time, extraordinary allegations of emotional and physical abuse are involved in these cases. Parents whose children were forcibly taken from one country to another may hire agencies that have been established to aid parents in attempting to fight for the child’s return, especially if the child’s life is endangered. It’s also important to enlist a U.S. attorney.

At V. Freitas Law, PLLC, our founding attorney, Veronica Freitas, has worked with these types of agencies. Our firm’s team is dedicated to protecting our clients’ rights in international divorce cases, including custody matters. Ms. Freitas has the experience and know-how needed to navigate international child custody issues. She will discuss with you how to position yourself to obtain a favorable residential schedule or parenting plan with your children.

Getting Child Custody When Living Abroad

If you’re living outside the U.S., you will face additional challenges when it comes to child custody. Here are some considerations to take into account:

  • Best interests of the children – The court will look to see what is in the best interests of the children when assigning custody. For example, you currently live outside the U.S. or plan to and your soon-to-be ex lives here. Although the child or children may have been born in the U.S. and reside there now, your spouse can’t take care of them on their own. As such, you could end up with custody of the children and take them abroad. This could be because you are better able to provide for them. In the event you do want to move abroad with the children, you will need to petition the court for its approval. Taking the children without such approval could end up with you facing kidnapping charges (see below).
  • Parental consent – To avoid potential legal and emotional issues, your best bet is to have the consent of the other parent to move the children overseas. Even though your divorce may be rather emotionally charged, sit down if at all possible with your child’s other parent and discuss the matter in a calm and rational manner. Explain to them why you feel it is best for the children to relocate out of the country with you. Such reasons can include a better standard of life in terms of finances, education, health care and more. You may be able to work out a deal with the child’s father or mother where they are allowed to visit the children in your country. You might also have the children come to the U.S. to visit their other parent on occasion.
  • Avoiding run-ins with the law – Last, make sure before you take your children with you overseas that everything you and your partner agreed to is in writing and on file with the courts. The last thing you need is to be possibly facing kidnapping charges. Make sure your legal counsel understands legislation involving international child custody as it pertains to parental kidnappings. In the event that you are granted custody of your children and they are permitted to go out of the country to live with you, be sure you pay any money required by the courts to your soon-to-be ex. This can include alimony among other things. You do not want to have your wages and other assets garnished to the point where you can’t take care of your children.

By working with our experienced family law lawyers who know their way around both U.S. and international child custody laws, you will be in a better position to have your children with you outside the U.S.

Starting Exploring Your International Child Custody Rights Today

Our skilled attorneys and staff are highly experienced in these types of multifaceted intercontinental issues. We are dedicated to achieving results that protect our clients and their child’s best interests. Contact us online or call 206-536-2875 for help.