According to U.S. Census Bureau findings published in LiveAbout, cross-cultural marriages are on the rise. While diversity is never a bad thing, marriages that cross international boundaries can lead to complex and emotionally trying legal issues. One such issue involves child custody. If you live in Texas, and if your ex took your child overseas, you know better than most just how hopeless a situation an international custody dispute can present. While your options may be few, know there are a few steps you can take to increase your odds of regaining custody of your loved one.
First and foremost, hire a family law attorney who has experience in resolving international custody disputes. These types of cases are extremely intricate and require an in-depth knowledge of both U.S. custody laws and international laws. They also require several resources that many domestic custody law firms simply do not possess. The right attorney will employ the appropriate resources to determine in which country your child currently lives and aggressively negotiate to secure the voluntary, safe and prompt return of him or her.
Next, familiarize yourself with the Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. The purpose of this international treaty — also known as the Hague Convention — is to protect children and their parents from intercontinental abductions. Unfortunately, there are several jurisdictions that refuse to sign the Hague Convention; in fact, only 98 countries have signed the treaty. However, if your former spouse happened to relocate your child to a participating jurisdiction, you will be able to more easily return to your original child custody arrangement. Bear in mind that the Hague Convention only applies to abductions involving children 16 years of age or younger.
In the meantime, while your attorney continues to fight for the safe return of your child, maintain positive contact with him or her. Though the distance may make it difficult to do so, do what you can to remain in your child's life. Send letters, pictures and money, call and conduct video chats whenever possible and, if necessary, consider temporarily relocating until the courts resolve the dispute once and for all.
The content shared here should not be construed as legal advice. It is for educational purposes only.