U.S. Census Bureau statistics show that international marriages are becoming increasingly common. However, you and your spouse are facing divorce and a child custody dispute.
Your soon-to-be ex has left the U.S. and gone to his home country. He has taken your young son with him and you want your child back. It can happen, but it may be a lengthy process.
The Hague Convention
This international treaty focuses on protecting children from international abduction. However, the treaty is only applicable in jurisdictions that are signers of the convention. Also known as the Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, it is only in force for children 16 years of age or younger. The goal of the treaty is to help families return to their status before the children were unlawfully relocated.
Other statutes may apply to your situation. These include the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Enforcement Act, the Parental Kidnapping Prevention Act and, if yours is a military family, the Service Members Civil Relief Act.
Are there cultural or religious beliefs complicating your child custody dispute? Some international jurisdictions lean toward mothers in granting sole physical custody of a child, and others favor fathers. In preparing your case, it will be helpful to know about issues like these.
A temporary move
Because international child custody disputes are complex, it might behoove you to move temporarily to the country where your child is living until you have resolved the custody matter. While you are considering such a move, try to maintain close contact with your child. Send letters and pictures, call and connect through video chat if possible. Cases involving disputes of this kind can be long and time-consuming, but any time required will be worth it if you can get your child back.