When an American marries a person from another country, and the couple decides to divorce, child custody can become sticky. Often, that other parent still has family outside the United States. When matters surrounding custody are acrimonious, he or she might abscond with the child, making it difficult for the American parent to exercise custody or visitation rights.
A differing legal system in the foreign country involved can sometimes make it very difficult for the American parent to follow the other parent and get the child back. Many countries have extradition treaties with the United States, but equally as many do not, which can make it challenging if not impossible to bring the kidnapping parent back to the United States to face the appropriate charges and ensure the child is safe.
In 1980, the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction was set in place. Very few of the 86 countries that signed the treaty are countries where Sharia or other religious covenants are a major part of family law. That further compounds international custody matters in many instances. I
That is complicating a case presently in which a woman took a couple’s young daughter to the United Arab Emirates (“UAE”), which is under Sharia law and has no extradition treaty with the United States. The father — a Florida resident — has joint custody of the child under American law, and wants his daughter back. The woman and her parents face charges of international parental kidnapping.
International custody cases are difficult at best. If you think that your spouse may try to leave the country with your child or may be thinking about it, contact an experienced Miami family law attorney. In many cases, an attorney may be able to prevent a parent from leaving the country with minor children.
Related Resource: The National, “Child custody case offers opportunity” Oct. 9, 2011