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What custody rules apply if parents are from different countries?

On Behalf of | Jun 12, 2023 | Divorce |

It is more common than people realize for the parents of a child to have citizenship in different countries. One parent may help the other move to the United States with the hope of raising their family here. Parents starting an international family often need to follow immigration protocols if they want to live in the same household, and they will inevitably face unique challenges if their relationship ends.

Custody laws are different in every state, and many other countries have very different rules for custody and family law matters than the United States. If a family formed with parents from two countries goes through a significant transition, it may be necessary to go to court and establish a custody order. Who determines what country has jurisdiction in an international child custody matter?

Jurisdiction depends on where people live

The rise of affordable international travel and telecommunications have made it easier than at any point in human history for people of different nationalities to raise a family together. The international community has already adopted an important law, called The Hague Convention, which governs international child custody matters for all participating nations.

When determining the jurisdiction for child custody cases, what matters is where the child has typically lived in recent months. Often, that will be in New York with their domestic parent. Should the other parent take the children abroad in an attempt to circumvent domestic jurisdiction, it may be necessary to go to court and bring the children back to the United States. However, there is no guarantee that the courts will agree that the children should stay in the United States permanently if the other parent returns to their country of origin. It will be the best interests of the children that guide what the courts decide regarding where they live

Knowing the rules is key in any custody dispute

Understanding the Hague Convention and also New York state custody laws is of the utmost importance for those trying to protect their relationship with their children during an international custody case. Establishing jurisdiction and navigating a court system with favorable laws is critical for those who are aiming for a positive outcome to an international custody matter.


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