Last week we wrote about some of the difficulties that can come with a divorce across national borders. Whether you and your spouse are dual citizens, living abroad or living in separate countries, navigating foreign courts and sorting out jurisdiction for your case can be a challenge.
Those challenges are magnified, and the stakes made even higher, when children are involved. Often both parents feel strongly about their children and want to be involved in their lives, which can be difficult when they live in different countries. International child custody battles are often messy, difficult and ridden with anxiety for parents.
If children are traveling from country to country, there is a greater risk of parental abduction, or one parent keeping the children in another country without the other’s consent. About 75 countries have joined the Hague Conference on Private International Law, which seeks to streamline international rules about custody and abduction and prevent parents from taking children overseas.
Parents living outside their home country, however, still face significant challenges. If children have been born and raised in a foreign country it may be more difficult to get a court order to take them elsewhere after a divorce. Countries tend to take the sides of their citizens in disputes like these, and parents who aren’t on their home turf are often placed at a disadvantage.
If you plan to move with your spouse and/or children, speak with counsel in your home country and the one where you plan to move to make sure your parental rights are protected before, during and after your marriage and your stay.
It is important to work with an experienced family law attorney if you are considering or going through a divorce, whether you have children or not. They can fight to protect your rights, your financial future and your family’s best interests.