Marriage is one of the oldest and most universal institutions in the world, but divorce has proven to be fairly common in many parts of the world, too. Divorce is the legal end of a marriage, and often a divorce will dissolve a household when two spouses part ways. Some divorces may prove to be simpler or more complex than others, as some households may have multiple under-18 children, or a lot of assets such as cars, a house, jewelry, or even a privately owned business. Other divorcing households are much simpler, and may only require the aid of a divorce mediator instead. But for the bigger divorces, international custody disputes may be handled in court for an international household. Or, divorce lawyers and child custody attorneys may be brought in for domestic divorces. How might international custody disputes be settled? Most marriages are domestic, but some span two countries and thus lead to international custody disputes for children in the household.
Basics of International Custody Disputes
Some households involve spouses of different nationalities, and if they get a divorce and there are under-18 children in the household, international custody disputes may arise. In some such cases, one spouse may try to wrongfully take the child out of their home country, or they may try to forcefully keep the child in their nation when the other spouse leaves. If one parent doesn’t have consent for what the other is doing, international custody disputes will begin.
The Hague convention, formed in 1980, is designed to legally deal with international child custody and abduction cases such as these. Most often, these international custody disputes will legally attempt to return an abducted child to their home nation where one of their parents lives, and allow courts in that nation to handle matters from there. It may be noted that this only applies to nations that have signed the convention, and in international custody disputes, both nations involved must be signatory ones (both where the child was taken, and where that child came from). A parent who needs this process done may petition a court in their home nation, and that court may in turn invoke the Hague convention. The petitioning parent must also prove that the child was a habitual resident of the nation they were abducted from so the case may proceed.
A divorce case within one nation will not involve international jurisdiction and courts, but some divorces may still prove to be complicated affairs. If a household has a lot of assets and any number of children, it is likely that the spouse filing for divorce will hire divorce attorneys to assist and represent them. That spouse may look to local divorce law firms and consult the attorneys working there (this may or may not incur a fee), and hire one to their liking. In some cases, the divorcing household may be an abusive one, and a spouse may relocate to a private residence for their safety (and bring their children with them). That spouse might choose to interact with their other spouse only through their lawyer. And it may well be that the other spouse will hire their own attorney to represent their interests.
Both lawyers will use divorce law to negotiate the terms of the divorce and the distribution of assets such as bank accounts and money, cars, houses, family heirlooms, or even recreational vehicles or a privately owned business. If children under 18 are involved, child custody lawyers may hotly contest child custody. If the child as 12 years old or more, he or she may privately speak to the judge about their living arrangement preferences.
It may be noted that some divorces are much simpler than that, and the divorcing spouses may make use of mediators instead of lawyers. Some divorcing Americans are splitting up simply because of personal incompatibility or loss of interest, and they may have relatively few assets to fight over. A mediator is a neutral third party who helps draw out good ideas from each spouse, and maintains productive communication between them as they negotiate the divorce themselves. Mediation services are often much less expensive than going through a court, and they are generally simpler and more private affairs, too.