The Siemon Law Firm
Honest Answers.
View Practice Areas

Complexity, uncertainty mark international child custody case

What law applies? Who gets to decide?

That choice-of-law question is a sometimes hard consideration that every law school student confronts and wrestles with at some point in school, and it occasionally spills into the real world of law in matters where multiple jurisdictions are involved.

An almost textbook example of that fact is provided by the litigation saga involving a child custody dispute playing out between the American father and Scottish mother of a young girl presently living in Scotland

The couple had lived apart for several years, with the father working at various locales as a U.S. Army sergeant while the mother stayed with the couple's child in Scotland. Following a failed attempt at marriage reconciliation in Alabama in 2010, the mother's visa expired and she was forced to return to Scotland. The daughter stayed with her dad following divorce pursuant to a custody award by an Alabama judge.

And then things got murky. A lower federal court judge reversed that ruling, stating that the Hague Convention mandated that the daughter be sent back to Scotland. The father appealed that ruling to the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which agreed with the lower court, stating that the matter was "moot" owing to the daughter's already established presence in Scotland.

The father fought on, arguing that the appellate court's ruling was not aligned with the view of other federal courts and that it unfairly circumscribed the custodial rights of a parent to a child wrongfully abducted to another country.

The next court to weigh in on that argument and pronounce judgment on whose law applies is the U.S. Supreme Court, which will hear the case in its upcoming term.

Source: Reuters, "US Supreme Court to hear int'l child custody dispute," Jonathan Stempel and Terry Baynes, Aug. 13, 2012

  • Our firm represents clients across a wide-ranging spectrum of family law considerations and concerns, including matters similar to that which is discussed in this post. To learn more about our firm and practice, please visit our Georgia Child Custody page.

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information
Contact our Georgia Family Law Firm by calling 866-497-5134 or by completing this contact form. An attorney will respond within 24 business hours.

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.


Privacy Policy

The Siemon Law Firm
347 Dahlonega Street, Building 100
Cumming, GA 30040
Phone: 770-888-5120
Fax: 770-521-4317
Cumming Law Office Map

The Siemon Law Firm
4555 Mansell Road, Suite 300
Alpharetta, GA 30022
Phone: 770-521-4316
Fax: 770-521-4317
Alpharetta Law Office Map

The Siemon Law Firm
3400 Peachtree Rd NE, Suite 555
Atlanta, GA 30326
Phone: 770-888-5078
Fax: 770-521-4317
Atlanta Law Office Map