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Issues of child custody are complex in the United States. Having parents in different countries tends to intensify and complicate already difficult matters. That is why you need an experienced international child custody attorney to work with you in resolving these disputes or anticipating and addressing them before they become an international emergency.
At Fernandez & Karney, our international child custody attorneys are:
- Experienced in addressing and resolving international custody cases
- Knowledgeable and versed in the international laws and agreements governing international child custody and kidnapping
- Successful in representing both domestic and international child custody clients in securing parental custody rights and support of minor children
Foreign law firms have retained Fernandez & Karney to establish and confirm their clients’ child custody and financial support rights as established by foreign court orders. Our firm has an arsenal of resources devoted to international child custody and support disputes, including:
- Talented child custody evaluators
- Consulting financial experts
- Multi-national practices experts
Contact Fernandez & Karney to discuss your international child custody case. Learn about the international child custody process and take measures to prevent future problems.
How an International Child Custody Attorney Can Help You
International child custody attorneys are educated in highly-specialized areas of family law. Not only do these attorneys regularly handle child custody and visitation cases within California, but they are also able to:
- Assist foreign counsel with interpreting and enforcing California decrees
- Clarify and determine the appropriate jurisdiction to hear an international child custody matter
- Work to resolve problems that arise due to multi-jurisdictional actions
- Develop a case strategy to consolidate or lessen the need for future extended litigation
At Fernandez & Karney, our Los Angeles international child custody lawyers can assist you in all the above ways while providing you with the legal support and guidance expected of a full-service family law firm. We want the best possible outcome for your child custody case and will:
- Stand by your side from the beginning of your legal issues until your case resolves
- Provide effective, competent representation throughout your case
- Guide you and inform you so you can make the best decisions possible for yourself and your children
- Expeditiously complete and file all necessary legal paperwork and work to keep your case moving through the legal system
Speak with a Los Angeles international child custody attorney at Fernandez & Karney and have your child custody questions answered by a professional. We will listen to your circumstances and offer you an honest opinion about your legal recourse and options moving forward.
The Hague Convention
Child custody and property division are among the most heated debates in any divorce. Once property matters are settled, many parents continue to debate child custody and visitation rights. In extreme cases, this results in litigation until the children reach the age of majority.
While most parents litigate child custody issues in one state court throughout their custody dispute, others do so across several states or even internationally. When child custody issues became international affairs, countries worldwide adopted the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction to address the problem of international child abduction during domestic arguments.
The Hague Convention was adopted by 101 countries, including the United States, in 1988. The United States implemented the provisions of the Hague Convention upon passage of the International Child Abduction Remedies Act (“ICARA”).
International Child Custody Disputes and the United States
When a child is removed from their home country or a child’s parents are in two different countries at the time of a custody dispute, the Hague Convention applies. The Hague Convention mandates that a child abducted in violation of the other parent’s custody rights must be returned to the child’s country of habitual residence.
The Hague Convention is also applicable when a child is wrongfully retained in a country other than their country of habitual residence. In any legal proceeding governed by the Hague Convention, the parent petitioning the court must first prove that a child was removed or retained from their country of habitual residence.
If a court finds that the Hague Convention is applicable in a legal dispute because a child was wrongfully removed or retained from the country of habitual residence, then the court must order the return of the child to the country of habitual residence unless:
- The return of the child would not be permitted by “fundamental principles of the United States relating to the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms;”
- The return would expose the child to a “grave risk” of “physical or psychological harm or otherwise place the child in an intolerable situation;”
- The parent petitioning the court for the return of the child did not file their petition within one year of the removal of the child, and the child is now well-settled in another country;
- The parent petitioning for the return of the child was not exercising their custodial rights at the time of the removal or had consented to or acquiesced in the removal; or
- The child objects to being returned and has attained an age and degree of maturity at which it is appropriate to consider their views. Trudrung v. Trudrung, 686 F. Supp. 2d 570, 574 (M.D.N.C. 2010).
The burden of proof falls on the parent who objects to the return of a child. For numbers one and two, the burden of proof must meet the criteria of clear and convincing evidence. The court hearing the case retains ultimate authority and discretion to order the return of a child if the court believes that returning the child would further the policy objectives of the Hague Convention.
The Hague Convention does not apply to cases where a child has reached the age of sixteen.
International Child Custody Disputes and California
When a California court is presented with an international child custody case, it must begin by determining if the United States is the child’s home country. The child’s home country is where the child has lived for six months before the custody dispute.
If the child’s home country is the United States, then the California court may proceed to determine the home state of the child. This is the state in which the child resided for the preceding six months. If not, the California court must find out if the child’s home country is a member of the Hague Convention.
Should the child’s home country not be a member of the Hague Convention, the court may apply the laws of the other country during the custody dispute. However, the court is not obligated to do so, and it need not apply any laws that violate human rights.
If the country is part of the Hague Convention, the Convention’s laws are to be enforced if the child was wrongfully abducted from their home country.
Speak with an Experienced International Child Custody Attorney in Los Angeles
If your divorce or child custody matter is likely to involve an international child custody dispute, it is imperative you speak with an experienced Los Angeles international child custody attorney right away. At Fernandez & Karney, we offer client-focused child custody solutions tailored to your needs and goals.
Call or contact Fernandez & Karney to speak with an attorney about your case. We have a team of professionals ready to work tirelessly for you. At Fernandez & Karney, your initial consultation is complimentary, so reach out to us today.