When your children are on the other side of world, and you have no way of seeing them, the pain can be excruciating. How do you enforce your parental rights in a foreign country, especially when you don’t know the laws or understand the language? At Gates Law Group, A Professional Corporation, we understand the pain of separation. Attorney Alan Gates is a seasoned advocate who will your effort to be reunited with your children using all the means available under international law.
Many Californians marry foreign nationals and start a family. Sometimes, when the marriage ends, the foreign national spouse decides to return home and wants to take the children along. These types of custody battles are intense, since the American spouse risks losing contact with the children. Nevertheless, courts decide custody matters based on the best interests of the children, and are sometimes willing to grant an international relocation.
Factors a court might consider when deciding whether to allow international relocation can include:
An order allowing international relocation generally must include provisions that guarantee the American parent significant time with their children. In our divorce practice, we vigorously assert our clients’ parental rights to ensure they are able to maintain their loving relationship with their sons and daughters.
Parents don’t always abide by the law or the court’s child custody order. A foreign national parent will sometimes take children to their home country without legal authorization. This violates international law, and in many cases you have recourse through The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of Child Abduction.
The Hague Convention is an international accord created in 1980. Currently 96 signatory nations have pledged to enforce its terms. The Convention operates similarly to the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Act within the United States, which says another state’s courts will enforce the child custody orders of a child’s home state. The Convention enforces the principle that after a divorce, children should continue to reside within the country of their habitual residence. A California parent can file a petition with the relevant California family law court to invoke the Hague Convention so that the child is returned to their place of habitual residence. A court in the foreign nation then holds a hearing to determine if the child was wrongfully removed from a habitual residence. If so, the child should be returned within six weeks.
However, certain factors could complicate a child’s return. If the child has lived in the country for a year or more and become acclimated, a court may choose not to disrupt the child’s life. Also, a child of sufficient maturity might object to being returned, and the court can consider the child’s preference in its determination. Finally, an appeal to the Hague Convention is not possible if the children have been taken to a non-signatory nation.
Attorney Alan Gates understands how vitally important your relationship with your child is. Our firm works tirelessly to bring about a resolution that protects your children and upholds your parental rights.
Gates Law Group, A Professional Corporation represents parents in international child custody disputes. Please call 559-432-9944 or contact us online to schedule a consultation. We serve clients at our main office in Fresno and locations in Paso Robles and Visalia.