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Federal legislation addresses international custody disputes

For many parents, settling child custody issues can be an incredibly complex matter. Not only do parents have to sort through the emotions of caring for their children, but they also must address the laws relevant to their cases.

Unfortunately, when parents cannot see eye-to-eye in regard to their custody arrangement, drastic decisions could be made. In some cases, a parent might defy a child custody order and take the children outside of the country. At this point, it's not just Florida laws that are at play; rather, this is an international legal matter, which introduces another set of issues.

When children are removed from the country in violation of a custody order, it is generally considered an international abduction case. These cases are often governed by the Hague Convention treaty, which is an international agreement that can help parents mediate their dispute, since state court order have no effect.

Unfortunately, a number of countries have not signed onto this agreement, which can make handling international custody cases even more complex. Recently, a member of the U.S. House of Representative introduced a bill that would change the way these situations are addressed. Under the legislative proposal, the State Department would use diplomatic tactics to help parents in the U.S. retrieve their children and work toward enforcing their custody orders.

Of course, international disputes are something most parents probably want to avoid altogether. It's understandable why parents might disagree about a custody arrangement, but the important thing to keep in mind is that the best interests of the children should be preserved. Working together to create a mutually agreeable settlement can help ensure this aim is upheld.

Source:, “ Bill may help ‘left-behind parents’ in global child custody fights. ” Herb Jackson, Dec. 11, 2013

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