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International child custody disputes: Here's what you should know

International child custody disputes are particularly more likely to happen to individuals who have lived overseas and had a baby with a foreign partner, or to individuals who have been married to a foreign spouse. If a dispute over child custody comes up, the foreign spouse might travel with your child to his or her home country and never come back. Doing so, however, could be a violation of international child custody laws.

If your child has been taken from you in an international child custody dispute, here is what you should do:

  • Get in touch with a family law lawyer who has experience with international child custody matters: Your lawyer will know exactly what to do in order to communicate with the foreign government where your child is currently located. Your lawyer can also attempt to negotiate with your ex the voluntary return of your child without the need for costly and drawn out litigation.
  • Learn about the Hague Convention: The Hague Convention is an international treaty that many countries have signed. The Convention is designed to streamline the process of resolving international child custody disputes by requiring the countries involved in the dispute to honor the terms of foreign family court rulings and foreign child custody agreements.
  • Stay in contact with your children: It's hard when you're at a distance, but if you can find a way to stay in touch with your children overseas, do whatever you can. Send money, letters, pictures and -- if possible -- call them on the phone and by video chat as often as possible.

Did your ex take your children to another country unlawfully? You might be able to get them back. A Michigan family law attorney with international child custody experience can review the facts of your situation to determine your legal rights and options in this regard.

Source: The Spruce, "How to Resolve an International Child Custody Dispute," Debrina Washington, accessed July 21, 2017

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