Hague Convention and International Family Law
Representing Parents in Child Abduction and International Kidnapping Disputes
In the midst of a divorce or child custody dispute, or at any time, whether parents are married or unmarried, what happens if one of the parents takes the children out of the country? Perhaps it was agreed that one parent would take the kids to the parent’s home country for Summer vacation but then decides to stay there with the kids and file for divorce. Which country’s courts will hear the case, and which country’s laws will apply? Is the situation different if a parent wishes to relocate with the children to another country versus if the child and parent are already living in another country when the dispute arises?
These are complex questions with complicated answers involving the application of an international law known as the Hague Convention. The stakes are high, as parents can be charged with serious crimes such as child abduction or international child kidnapping that have grave consequences. The Law Firm of Oscar A. Ischiu, Esq. represents parents dealing with international family law issues such as when one parent is trying to get their kids back from another country, or when a parent has brought their children to the U.S. under a valid exception in the Hague Convention yet must fight to keep them here. If you find yourself in one of these situations and need dedicated, professional legal help, call The Law Firm of Oscar A. Ischiu, Esq. at our Los Angeles and San Bernardino law offices in West Covina, Ontario and Monrovia.
Situations in Which International Child Custody Disputes Commonly Arise
Generally speaking, international child custody disputes can arise in many different types of scenarios, including but not limited to the following:
- Both parents are living in the U.S. before their divorce and prior to any child custody order being entered, and one of the parents is planning to relocate to another country and wants custody of the child;
- The child is already living in a foreign country, and the parent in the U.S. is seeking to modify a custody order to bring the child back to the U.S. and to obtain custody of the child;
- The child is living in the U.S. with one parent, and the other parent who lives in a foreign country is seeking to modify a child custody order to bring the child to the foreign country and obtain custody of the child;
- One of the parents abducts the child and seeks refuge in a foreign country before the child custody order can be entered.
Resolving International Family Law Under the Hague Convention
The Hague Convention of 1980 is an international law signed onto by some 70 countries around the world, including the United States, Mexico and Columbia, just to name a few. Signatory countries have agreed to take all appropriate measures to return a child to their home country when they have been wrongfully removed from there.
One of the difficult questions that can arise in Hague Convention cases is, what is the child’s home country? The Hague Convention refers to the country that is the child’s habitual residence. This sounds like a legal term, but it is not defined in the Hague Convention. Rather, many factors must be considered to determine which country should be considered the country of the child’s habitual residence for purposes of deciding international child custody disputes.
International family law disputes can involve the laws and courts of competing countries as well as competing state laws. Other laws such as Unlawful Flight to Avoid Prosecution, and agencies like the U.S. State Department, might also get brought into play. The Law Firm of Oscar A. Ischiu, Esq. can help you navigate all of these complex legal issues to arrive at a satisfactory resolution that meets the number one goal, which is a custody and visitation schedule that ensures meaningful contact with both parents whenever that arrangement is in the child’s best interests. Whether you are fighting to get your children returned to you or fighting to keep them here, we’ve got your back and your best interests at heart.
Get Immediate Assistance With International Family Law Matters
For help with international child custody disputes in Los Angeles or San Bernardino County, call The Law Firm of Oscar A. Ischiu, Esq. for a consultation. We speak English and Spanish and are available to meet with you whenever you need us.