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International child custody dispute involving Illinois boy twists

9679859_S.jpgWhen child custody battles cross international borders, they become infinitely more complex. Just ask any parents who have experienced one.

One couple, formerly of Illinois, has been engaged in a six-year international custody battle. The child has lived with his father in Ireland for about a year and a half. Meanwhile, in Illinois, courts have been trying to decide whether Ireland has jurisdiction over the case. International child custody cases are quite complicated, in large part, due to such jurisdictional questions. 

It is often very difficult to determine which country has jurisdiction over a particular international child custody matter; and, when rulings come down in such cases, they can be nearly impossible to enforce.

The child at the center of this case was born in 2007 in Illinois. His parents moved to Ireland when he was not even two-weeks-old. Less than one year later, the couple broke up and the mother moved back to Illinois with the baby.

The father then filed a lawsuit in Chicago, accusing the woman of breaking international child abduction laws by moving the child to the U.S. 

Last year, a judge in Illinois agreed with the father and ordered the boy to be sent back to Ireland. However, that ruling was reversed on appeal and this week the judge ordered the boy to be returned to the states.The future of the child custody case, from which the international child abduction issues stem, remains unclear.

This case is very complex. It is a reminder of the high stakes and complications of international child custody disputes. Those who are involved in international child custody disputes need to seek skilled legal counsel.

Source: Chicago Tribune, "Judge: Return boy in Ireland to his mother in Illinois," Jason Meisner, Dec. 12, 2013

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