Two things to include in any court order involving foreign parents

Posted May 20th, 2016.

Categories: Custody Tips, Family Law.

international child mark guralnick

A surprising number of child custody cases these days involve at least one parent who comes from another country. The foreign-born parent often wishes to return to her country when the parties split up. Or she may want to make regular visits to her country with the children to visit the children’s grandparents, aunts and uncles living abroad.

If your custody case involves the risk of foreign travel with the children because of the nationality of one of the parents, you need to take special precautions when the judge prepares your court order.

The court order should first state that your state shall be declared the “home state” of the child, and that your state shall retain exclusive continuing jurisdiction over the case. This language appears in the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA) and the Parental Kidnaping Prevention ActT (PKPA). Including this language should prevent a foreign court from taking jurisdiction over your case.

Your court order should also state that your state is the “habitual residence” of the child. This is the term used by the international treaty on child abduction which has been signed by the United States and many other countries. Having a court order that declares an American state to be the habitual residence of the child will assist you and the U.S. Department of State in getting the child back to you should the other parent unlawfully kidnap the child to another country. The treaty is known as the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction.

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