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Michael A. Johnson
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New law helps Arizona parents in custody battles

| May 20, 2015 | Child Custody |

When a child is abducted by a noncustodial parent and taken to a foreign country, it can be difficult to get that child back home. From a diplomatic standpoint, putting too much pressure on another government to return an American citizen could strain relations between the two nations. Furthermore, it can be difficult for the custodial parent to go back and forth between the two countries throughout the legal process.

The cost alone of traveling between the United States and the country where the child currently resides can put a large financial strain on parents. Furthermore, the case itself can take months or years to resolve. This may result in multiple trips to visit a child or attend a court hearing in the case. However, new legislation may make it easier for the United States to put pressure on other nations to live up to their obligations under the applicable Hague convention.

The new law, which was enacted by Congress in July 2014, allows the United States to publish a list of countries harboring children abducted by their parents. It also puts pressure on the State Department to help parents get their children back when they are taken outside of the country. Countries that fail to return children back to their parents could face economic sanctions.

Parents who have joint legal custody of their children may both need to consent to their child being taken out of the state or country. If a child is moved without the permission of the other parent, it could jeopardize that parent’s custody rights in the future. Any parent who believes that a current custody order doesn’t provide for the child’s best interest may wish to talk to a family law attorney about his or her concerns.

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