Can Custody Orders be Enforced Outside the Country?

Pleasanton CA Child Custody attorneyEnforcing a custody order can be difficult when the other parent isn’t playing by the same rules or acting in good faith. Not just that, but it can be particularly difficult to enforce a custody order when the other parent decides to take the child outside of the boundaries of California. While we’ve previously discussed custody issues when the parent leaves the state with the child, what about when the parent takes the child out of the country?

For today’s post, we’re looking at ways in which parents can try and have custody orders enforced outside the country.

Options for Returning the Child to the US

When it comes to custody disputes that cross international lines, the battle is significantly more difficult once the child has been taken out of the country. It’s always much easier to try and prevent or block the other parent from leaving ahead of time. That said, there are some options that parents in the U.S. can explore once the other parent has left U. S. soil for good. 

A lot of this has to do with the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. This is a treaty that provides mechanisms for American parents to try and enforce custody orders in other countries. 

Provided that your child is under the age of 16 and located in one of the countries has membership with the convention, the treaty allows for both countries to coordinate and return the child to the U. S. The parent within the U. S. does need to demonstrate full legal right to custody before any government entities can take action. 

In order to kickstart this process, a parent must file an application with the Office of Children’s Issues in the United States State Department. This application must be submitted within one year from when the child was removed from the U. S. 

Options for Preventing the Child from Leaving the US

If the child is still stateside and you’re aware of the possibility that the other parent might leave the country with him/her, there are various domestic options available that can help you prevent or block this ahead of time. You can file a petition with domestic family law courts in CA, who will review your case and can help enforce custody arrangements with added restrictions or stipulations. 

All in all, international custody issues are some of the most complex issues that CA family laws work with. With that in mind, you should always consult with an experienced family law attorney when dealing with these or other related issues. 

When it comes to family law in CA, you can count on our legal expertise and vast experience at the Law Offices of James P. White. Call us at 925-271-0999 to book a initial consultation.