How to Enforce Custody When the Child is Taken Out of the Country

family law attorneyEnforcing custody can be a difficult battle, and this is doubly true in cases where the other parent might not be cooperating or sticking to the custody agreement in place. However, things become infinitely more complicated when one parent intends or succeeds in crossing international lines with the child. 

Unfortunately, we’ve seen many cases where parents were more than willing to take a child out of the country in order to circumvent custody orders. For today’s post, we’re looking at ways that custody can be enforced even when the child is physically in a different country or territory.

Preventing the Child from Being Taken Out of the U. S.

The saying “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” is on-point when it comes to international custody disputes. Given the physical challenges and legal hurdles, you’ll often face an uphill battle when trying to enforce custody orders internationally. Thus, it’s best to get ahead of the problem when possible and take steps that can help prevent the other parent from leaving the country with the child. 

There are legal venues you can explore that can help you legally block the other parent from crossing international borders, and the family law courts are equipped to enforce these stipulations. Talk to a family lawyer to learn more about which option best suits your specific situation. 

Enforcing Custody Once the Child Has Been Removed From the Country

If the other parent has succeeded in leaving the country with the child, the situation isn’t as straightforward but there’s a few options available depending on where the other parent has landed. An international agreement between various countries serves as the legal mechanism that helps parents enforce custody internationally. Known as the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, this treaty allows for countries to cooperate with one another in order to enforce custody orders as required. 

In order for your custody agreement to be enforceable via this method, it is pivotal that you file an application to the Office of Children’s Issues in the United States State Department. This needs to be done within 12 months after the ex left the country with the child. 

Talk to a Family Law Attorney

Custody issues are complicated enough, and international laws and regulations further bump up the complexity. The best place to start is always to consult with an experienced CA divorce attorney.  

Rely on our experienced attorneys at R & S Law Group, LLP for all matters relating to family law in CA. Our team of legal experts is well-versed in domestic and international custody issues, and can help provide you with a roadmap of next steps to take. Give us a call at (949) 825-5245 to schedule a free consultation.