When an international family wishes to divorce, international family law counsel may help with:
Selection of the forum. This requires a determination of which jurisdictions are available concerning 1) the marriage; 2) the real property; 3) the personal property; 4) custody of the children; 5) child support; and 6) spousal support. Counsel must then determine the applicable laws for each jurisdiction, including the conflict-of-law rules and make predictions as to the likely outcomes. Divorce laws vary considerably around the world, as do the actual practices of divorce courts. Selection of the best forum is often the single most critical decision in an international family law case. Advice as to initial steps to be taken or not taken. Typical issues are whether the client should: 1) relocate; 2) take the children to another country; 3) remove assets; 4) institute suit immediately; and 5) seek immediate injunctive relief.
Development and implementation of case-management strategy, including coordinating factual investigations, taking discovery, responding to discovery requests, handling pretrial motions, preparing for trial and handling appeals.
International family law counsel may assist clients who wish to relocate with a child to a foreign jurisdiction or wish to prevent the other parent from doing so. Counsel’s representation might include advising or procuring advice concerning the left-behind parent’s ability to enforce visitation rights in the foreign country.
International family law counsel also assist in international child-custody matters. This includes determining which is the best jurisdiction, assisting foreign local counsel if the action is instituted in a foreign country, helping resolve problems arising from the institution of custody actions in more than one jurisdiction and developing case strategy. International family law counsel play a key role in assisting clients and family lawyers handle a multiplicity of complex international family law matters.
How a custody battle or visitation request is handled in a foreign country will depend on what treaties are in place between the United States and the country in question. These treaties can be influenced by religious and cultural issues, not to mention how enforcement on child custody and visitation issues is undertaken.
For instance, establishing visitation rights or seeking custody of a child living in Europe will be different than if a child is taken by his father and returned to a country with whom the United States does not have good diplomatic and legal relations. Typically, countries in the Middle East and Central Asia pose more difficult challenges than European countries.
When necessary, my office is prepared to work with State Department officials when dealing with foreign courts. Depending on what treaties exist and the law of the country in question, involving the State Department, US Embassy, or Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services may be required. If your child has US citizenship and is being held against his or her will, extradition proceedings and other measures may be necessary as well regarding the father or mother.