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International Child Custody Fraught With Pitfalls For Parents

Many people know that North New Jersey is a diverse, multi-cultural place. The allure of living and working near The Big Apple brings people from many different countries to the region. Many of these people meet and marry someone of a different nationality. Dual citizenship marriages are becoming more common in the United States, so people need to be aware of how that would affect child custody in the event of a divorce.

Say one of the parents wants to return to his or her country of origin. What is the couple to do when it comes to custody? Many people may not think about these issues before getting married. Some U.S. citizens may get married and move overseas with a spouse who is a citizen of the U.S. and another country.

In this case, you may be handing jurisdiction of your divorce over to the court in the country where you live, and not a U.S. court. Wealthier couples who own homes in multiple countries are advised to research where the friendliest venue would be for getting a fair settlement. Many countries may still be hostile toward giving women the same rights as men or not recognizing a father’s right to be an equal parent.

One divorce planning expert recommends that it might be necessary to acquire the help of an attorney who is well versed in international child custody laws. Some countries, such as Japan, make it very hard for children who have been taken by a parent to be returned to the U.S. Parents who are contemplating a divorce that could cross international borders should be well prepared before they press ahead.

Source: Forbes, “Small World, Big Problem: Divorces Involving Dual Citizenship,” Jeff Landers, Jan. 10, 2013

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