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International child custody issues rise in Washington and abroad

A new law being proposed in another state may be of interest to readers in California who are involved in a child custody matter that involves parents from different home countries. In the new proposal, which is currently going through the legislative process, a parent would not be able to remove a child to another country during a child custody dispute except under limited circumstances. Though this child custody bill has not been proposed in our state, its progress may be closely watched by many here and across the country.

Many couples in our state have children during their marriage. In an increasing number of these families, one or both of the parents are citizens of a country other than the United States. When a divorce occurs in such families, child custody issues may be complicated by efforts of one parent to relocate to their homeland.

In some cases, a parent may seek to move the child to their homeland due to more favorable laws for child custody in their country. When this is the case, the American parent may find that they are unable to bring their child home. In addition, legal questions may arise as to which country's laws will apply to the child custody matter.

In the new proposal being made outside of California, parents would not be able to take their children to a foreign land that does not comply with the Hague Convention during a child custody dispute. The only exception would be when both parents sign an agreement allowing the child to be removed to the foreign land. While the bill is in the early part of the legislative process in its state, some in California may find that its outcome, if approved, could have effects in many locales should it be an influence to other, future legislation.

Source: ourmidland.com, "Moolenaar child custody bill OK'd by Senate, heading to House," Oct. 28, 2012

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