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Potential International Custody Issues in a Florida Divorce


Florida is home to a diverse population, so it’s not inconceivable that one parent may try to leave the country with or without permission during or following a divorce. It’s also not uncommon to run into custody disputes because one parent keeps the child in another country past the agreed upon timeframe.

With permanent residents from all over the world, as well as more people moving abroad for jobs, many parents, especially ones who are in the middle of a divorce or custody dispute, want to know how international child custody matters are handled in Florida. Obviously, every scenario is different, and what country the other parent holds citizenship from can impact the case. This is why it is imperative that you contact a South Florida family law attorney to discuss your options and the recommended course of action.

Who Has Jurisdiction?

This is one of the most important and potentially challenging issues when it comes to international custody disputes. If a Florida court already made the initial ruling on determining custody, it will retain exclusive and continued jurisdiction, until something changes that may terminate that. This can be when Florida decides that the child and one parent no longer have any significant connection with the state, or the evidence shows the child’s care, training, education, and personal relationships are no longer in the state, or another state’s court decides that the child, his or her parents, and any person acting as a parent do not reside in Florida.

What is the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Act (UCCJEA)

The UCCJEA was enacted to handle specific issues with international and interstate custody matters. It helps promote cooperation between the states, avoid conflicting state orders, and to ensure interstate or international custody litigation happens in the state where the child has the closest connection and where his or her best interests are served.

International Child Abduction Cases

Kidnapping is every parent’s nightmare. A domestic child abduction matter is hard enough to fathom, but one where the other parent has taken the child out of the US to a foreign country is quite challenging.

There are protections in place if a child has been wrongfully removed from the United States and taken to another country. One of these is called The Hague Convention, and would apply provided the child was taken to a country that is a signatory nation. There are more than 100 countries who are members. Much of Europe are signatories, along with a few countries in Africa, South America, and the Middle East.

If your child has been taken out of the United States without permission, you need to contact a Florida child custody attorney right away.

Retaining the Right Family Law Attorney

Handling international child custody matters is complex and can be challenging. This is why it’s important to find the right South Florida family law attorney. The Law Offices of Schwartz | White has decades of experience dealing with complex child custody matters and other family law related cases. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.



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