Illinois Law and International Custody Disputes

With the spread of technology and the increase of globalization, families often find themselves spread all over the globe. When there is a custody dispute, making sense of what steps need to be taken to try and protect the children and to try and preserve their relationships with both parents can be difficult. Sometimes, there is a fine line between a custody dispute and international kidnapping.

Who Has Jurisdiction?

One of the first issues that must be resolved in a custody dispute is determining what court has jurisdiction. Jurisdiction means the authority to hear the case. Often, jurisdiction will depend on the physical location of the child, and one or more of the parents. However, Illinois law and international treaties, like the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of Child Abduction, also try and protect against a parent just taking a child and leaving a country to obtain a change in the court hearing the case.

It can be a battle just to get a court to agree to hear a case. Questions over jurisdiction have to be decided before any substantive decisions can be made.

Every case is unique, and only an attorney experienced in international custody issues is qualified to sort out the different rules regarding what court should hear a custody case.

Enforcing a Custody Order in Another Country

Another common problem in international custody disputes is enforcing custody or parenting time orders from another country. Whether it is enforcing an order from a U.S. court overseas or determining if a foreign order can and should be enforced in the United States, international custody disputes require careful reading of different laws, rules, and international treaties.

International custody disputes can be intense because usually one or both parents fear one or the other will disappear with the children, never to be seen again. While courts in Illinois are required to make decisions that are in the best interests of the child, they are also bound by federal law and international treaties that may require them to honor orders issued in other countries.

Sometimes, getting a custody order is the easy part of the process; however, getting the order enforced can take months or even years.

If you have questions regarding international custody issues, you need the advice of a skilled DuPage County family law lawyer with experience dealing with complex international issues. Call Sullivan Taylor & Gumina, P.C. today at 630-665-7676 to schedule your consultation today.