An often complex legal problem: global parental child abduction

On behalf of Stange Law Firm, PC posted in Child Custody on Sunday, April 5, 2015.

Child-related issues are often at the center of divorce negotiations, with parents in Illinois, Missouri and elsewhere across the country sometimes expending considerable time and effort negotiating the details of a parenting plan that addresses custody and visitation matters.

A well-considered and carefully executed plan often works seamlessly for all involved parties, with, especially, the best interests of affected children being optimally promoted.

On other occasions, though, things can fall apart dramatically and in a hurry, with patently adverse consequences.

A recent media account of one custody dispute underscores how a parental battle over a child can be fraught with heightened challenges and complexity when global considerations are present.

Put another way: As difficult as it can be to resolve legal disputes in the United States in cases where the laws of more than one state are involved, it can be infinitely more challenging to legally conclude a matter that implicates the laws of different nations.

That multi-jurisdictional reality can be especially troublesome in the realm of family law, specifically regarding child custody disputes.

Here’s a scenario to prove the point. A fair number of marriages domestically feature one parent who retains citizenship in another country. If that parent leaves the United States with a child absent the other parent’s permission and does not intend to return, what law will govern if the U.S.-based parent seeks to legally challenge the departure on grounds of abduction?

Truly, things can get sticky — and often do — in such a situation, which plays out more often than many people realize.

The realm of global custody battles can be rendered even more complex when two involved countries are not both signatories to a subject-relevant treaty and/or flatly refuse to recognize the other’s laws or interests in a dispute.

We will take a closer look at an actual case that underscores the often perplexing nature of global parental child abduction in our next blog post.

Source: Yahoo! Parenting, “One dad’s all-out fight for son after mom abducts him to China,” Beth Greenfield, April 1, 2015

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