International Child Custody and the Hague Convention
Legal Help with International Child Relocation or Child Kidnapping by a Parent
No child custody case is more difficult than a case that crosses national borders. Some countries have not signed on to the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, an international treaty that covers child custody and family law matters, among other things. Some countries say they comply but local courts do not seem to know how to apply the law.
If you have an international child custody matter, it is critical that you work with a custody attorney who understands the details of international law, the Hague Convention, and whether it applies in the country to which your child has been taken.
Most family law attorneys have little or no experience handling international child custody disputes or working under the Hague Convention. We do. Our attorneys have handled a number of international child custody cases for parents seeking to bring their children overseas or U.S. parents seeking the return of a child who has been secretly taken to Eastern or Western Europe, the Middle East or Asia. Many of the international child custody cases we handle are for parents serving in the military.
We assist with child relocation cases, initial custody cases for parents who wish to move overseas, and with parental abduction cases in which a U.S. parent is seeking the return of a child kidnapped by the other parent.
In any child custody case it is critical to establish jurisdiction — which court has authority over the child and the custody case. If you suspect the other parent will move out of the country, filing a custody case in Virginia family court can begin to provide you with some protections.
You must be a resident of Virginia in order to file a case here. If you are in the military and stationed overseas, but previously were a Virginia resident, you may still be able to file in a Virginia family court. Moving to another country for the purpose of serving in the military may not cancel your Virginia residency.
If you married a national in the country in which you now live, and your child was born in that country, that can present technical challenges but it is not necessarily insurmountable. Talk with one of our lawyers about your rights. Contact our Virginia law office online or call 804.545.9800. Contact our Richmond law office to schedule a consultation with an experienced child custody lawyer who can properly advise you on your specific international custody situation.