Courts allow man to continue international child custody battle

As many people in Georgia know, child custody cases can become especially tricky if both parents reside in different countries. Although some countries have treaties with the United States that allow our court systems to make decisions in conjunction with international courts, many times these negotiations can get muddled because of differences in laws.

This can be illustrated using the example of an Australian man who is currently fighting for custody of his children after their mother filed for divorce and child custody in the United States.

The couple was married in Illinois in 1993 and in 1998, the couple moved to Australia. They stayed there for 12 years, during which they had three children who attended Australian schools. In 2010, the family travelled back to the United States because their Australian home was undergoing remodeling. A month later, the father returned to Australia while the mother and the children stayed in Illinois with the mother’s parents. Four months later, the mother filed for divorce.

The husband’s attorney made several offers to his wife, but when it seemed like no settlement could be made, he filed a request to have his children returned under the Hague Convention in an Australia court then sued his wife in the United States under the International Child Abduction Remedies Act. Initially his request was denied by a lower court, but after appealing to the 7th Circuit Court, he was finally granted a remand which returned his case to the lower courts for “further fact finding.”

“In returning this case to the District Court, we emphasize again that this is a dispute about which court system should resolve the underlying issue of child custody; it is not a dispute about which parent is preferable or the terms under which custody will be granted,” concluded one of the court judges.

It is not clear at this time how the U.S. courts and the Australian courts will resolve this complicated issue.

Source: Courthouse News, “Court Revives Dad’s Bid for Custody in Australia,” Joseph Celentino, Nov. 19, 2012

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