Does Your Child Custody Case Cross International Borders?

What if my child has been taken out of state or out of the country?


Ours is a global society. People now communicate with others around the world on a daily basis via email, social media, phone and more. People frequently travel to other countries for work and vacation. Not surprisingly, more and more children are being born to parents who are citizens of two different countries, or to a parent who moves or wants to move to another country. This can complicate child custody cases.

At Feinberg & Waller, our lawyers are well-known for handling complex child custody matters. We bring decades of experience to these cases. We have the knowledge and skill to sort through and resolve even the most contentious international child custody disputes.

Do U.S. Laws Apply?

Needless to say, other countries may have dramatically different child custody laws than the United States. One factor that may play a critical location is the child's birthplace. Was the child born in the United States or a different country? Of course, there are many other factors, not the least of which is whether an amicable resolution is possible, or if one parent has taken the child to another country or threatened to do so, which is considered parental abduction.

The legal process in these cases is dictated by the Hague Convention, assuming the country in question has signed the Hague Convention. The Hague Convention is a treaty that, among other things, is designed to address international child custody and protect children who have been abducted by a parent. This is accomplished by having an international procedure put in place that should allow children a relatively prompt return to their country of residence. Currently, over 70 countries have signed the treaty and include:

  • Canada
  • Mexico
  • Australia
  • Russia
  • China
  • United Kingdom
  • United States
  • Brazil

Our attorneys are well-versed in the provisions of the treaty. We can review your case to determine whether it applies and take the appropriate steps to move forward.

If your child has been taken to a country that has not signed the treaty, things can get complicated, particularly if you are the mother and it is a country where women do not have legal rights. Our lawyers are committed to finding positive resolutions in these cases.

Who Gets Custody of the Child?

When there is an ocean between the parents, having the child travel back and forth is not the same as when parents live on opposite sides of the same city. Creativity may be necessary to create workable child custody arrangements. These may involve occasional travel, longer stays with each parent, scheduled Skype sessions and more. At the end of the day, we want to protect your relationship with your child and do what is in the child's best interest.

Call For a Consultation Today

If you want to discuss an international child custody case, contact our Los Angeles family law lawyers online or call 818-224-7900 to schedule an initial consultation.