There are many Californians in relationships with people from other countries. If these international couples split up after having kids, some unique custody situations may arise. For example, one parent may abduct their child and move abroad. This could leave the other parent feeling like they have no avenues for recourse.
Their options will depend on a variety of factors, including the other country’s laws. The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of Child Abduction, a treaty ratified by 98 nations in 2018, set up parameters for what needs to be done if a parent takes their child without court permission to a different country. One of these parameters is that the child must be brought back to their country of ‘habitual residence” and that that country establishes custody rights. Of course, this can only be enforceable when the countries are part of the treaty. Additionally, a country’s own laws regarding parental rights can also affect how this type of situation will be handled.
When a parent takes a child to a country that is not part of the treaty, the scenario will be different. In that case, getting the child back might be more difficult and options on how to proceed more limited.
Since international child custody cases can be quite complicated, acting quickly and being well-informed about the laws is important. It may be a good idea to consult with a family law attorney who can provide advice about this type of situation. A lawyer might offer additional support by representing the client in court appearances.