With rapid globalization and rise in international mobility, more complex issues are evolving in international family law. Today, it’s not very uncommon for a person to get married to someone living abroad or moving to another country with a new job and deciding to get divorced there. When children are involved, things get even more complicated. Not only are the stakes very high, but so are the issues to be dealt with.
Consider this example: David, a U.S. citizen meets Alison, a French citizen online and gets married in Italy. The couple moves to Australia and resides there. They have two children who attend schools in Sydney. And they have a real property (a vacation home) in New Zealand. Alison now wants to go back to France to accept an academic position. She wants to take the children with her to which David objects. The couple seeks a divorce.
This and similar situations can create complicated legal issues. To discuss your matter, contact the Texas international family lawyers at Walters Gilbreath, PLLC to schedule a consultation. We can be reached by calling (844) 451-1220.
When Can a Family Law Issue Become an International Issue?
There is no exhaustive list of when a simple family law issue may become an international family law issue. Most often it happens when there are some international components intertwined in the fact scenarios of a case.
- You got married in another country
- One or both of you live overseas
- You own property in another country
- The other parent takes the child(ren) to another country
- There is the potential for international child custody issues
Complexities of International Family Law
Here are some of the major issues in international family law:
- Jurisdictions – Which country has jurisdiction to hear a case? Taking the above example, Australia, U.S.A, France, Italy, New Zealand – which country will be the proper forum to hear this case?
- Choice of law – Which countries’ law is going to be applied? There are complex rules concerning this depending on whether the case is about marriage and divorce only, or about child custody or child abduction. In case of international child abduction for example, it is usually the Hague Convention that governs a case. However, not all countries abide by it, and even when they do it can take a long time to resolve the issues.
- Conflicting orders – What happens when there are two competing orders? This happens when both parties seek legal redress in two different countries and obtain judgments.
- Practical concerns – Usually, the decision about which country the child is going to live in is going to dictate the relationship of the parties to the child(ren). If dad lives in China while the mother and child live in Texas, then it is going to be very difficult for Dad to have any relationship with his child.
- Cost – International custody cases are usually the most expensive type of cases. Often the ultimate winner of these cases is the one who can afford to pay the best lawyer the most. That isn’t how a justice system should work, but that is the reality. Cases like this can cost well over $100,000 per side.
In the wake of international family issues like these and due to the complexities they involve, it is very important that you, with the help of our Texas family lawyers, make some informed decisions with regards to the technicalities of your divorce case. This may change the outcomes of your case to a great extent.
Contact Walters Gilbreath, PLLC by calling (844) 451-1220 to schedule an initial consultation.