A Colorado man may be nearing the end of a gut-wrenching 3-1/2 year child custody battle. After receiving a favorable judgment in a 2010 custody hearing, the father of two young girls was shocked to discover that his ex-wife had violated the court order and taken the children to Argentina. Sadly, this father is not the only parent dealing with this type of situation. According to the State Department, parents committed over 1,000 international abductions in 2013.
The Hague convention child abduction treaty is intended to limit international custody battles to a period of six to eight weeks so parents do not have to endure this type of long ordeal, but it is rarely enforced. In December 2013, the House of Representatives unanimously passed House Resolution 3212, which is designed to increase compliance with the Hague convention. If the resolution is approved by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, the U.S. will have the authority to threaten sanctions when a country does not abide by the provisions of the Hague convention.
Although this case took place in Colorado, it highlights federal law issues that also apply to couples divorcing in Florida. International abduction cases often take longer to resolve than a standard child custody case because of the different legal systems involved in the process. The father in this article was forced to wait through multiple appeals in the Argentine courts.
A family law attorney may be able to assist parents who are facing long delays in international custody cases. Depending on the issues being disputed in the other country, it may also be helpful to hire a foreign attorney who can appear in court on the parent's behalf. This is especially true if there is a language barrier to overcome.
Source: CNN, "U.S. Dad Wins Huge Custody Fight", Ana Cabrera and Elizabeth Stuart, March 31, 2014