Child custody: international issues can breed layered complexity

For sheer complexity in family law, few things would seem to rival a global child custody dispute, especially one involving the kidnapping of a child by one parent who leaves the United States and vows to keep the child outside the country indefinitely.

What can a parent remaining in the United States do to recover a son or daughter who has been secreted away to a foreign country?

Many of our readers in Georgia and elsewhere might reasonably suggest that a lawsuit should be brought and/or criminal charges filed. Indeed, those might be solid strategies to pursue, and they could yield sought-for changes in a given case.

What will happen, though, if the country in which a child is currently being held in contravention of American law does not formally recognize U.S. custody orders? What if that nation has never executed an extradition treaty with the United States?

And, importantly, what if that country has never signed on to the international Hague Abduction Convention, which signatories rely upon to simplify global child custody matters and streamline the dispute-resolution process?

A recent international child custody dispute involving China triggers all those concerns and firmly underscores the great complexity that can attach in cases of global parental child abduction.

In that case, a mother left Utah with her young son and brought him to China (her native country). Her American husband expected her to return, but she never did.

There is no pact between the United States and China to address such a situation, and criminal charges against the woman might be flatly ineffectual, given the above-cited lack of an extradition treaty.

As the father continues to explore his options, his legal battle serves as a central reminder to readers that child custody-related disputes can easily be among the thorniest and most intractable of all family law problems.

An experienced attorney who routinely works with parents on child-related matters intimately knows that and strives to fashion solutions that fully promote the best interests of clients and their children.

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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