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Scarlett Johansson may have international custody battle

Florida celebrity watchers may be interested to learn that actress Scarlett Johansson and her estranged French husband are both seeking primary custody of their 2-year-old daughter. It was reported on March 9 that Johansson has filed for divorce in a New York court using her real name even though she had the option of filing under an alias.

After Johansson had made the issue public, her estranged husband had reportedly asked her to withdraw the divorce action and go back to negotiating. However, under the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Enforcement Act, the court that has jurisdiction over the case is wherever the child has lived for six months. By publicly filing the divorce action, Johansson can claim that she lived in New York and prevent the case from going a French court. Even so, the estranged husband could still potentially file in France, which would result in a bi-national jurisdiction conflict that would have to be resolved before any decisions are made.

If the case remains in New York, professionals may then be assigned to evaluate the child to help determine what is in her best interests. If the child is too young for this, the evaluator may look to see what custody decision would have a lesser impact on the child.

When parents are going through a divorce, they will have to create a parenting plan that gives each party a certain amount of time with their children. A family law attorney may assist with any negotiations to help ensure that the parenting plan is fair for the client. If one or both parents cannot cooperate and refuse to work together to create an acceptable plan, the attorney may represent the parent in court and provide evidence showing that the client was the primary caregiver.

Source: USA Today, "Scarlett Johansson's custody battle: What happens next?", Maria Puente, March 9, 2017

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