Many people in Oakland and the greater Bay Area are married or have a child in common with another parent who has ties to a country other than the United States.

So long as the relationship between the couple remains stable, the fact that a child has a connection to two different countries should not be an issue.

Unfortunately, if the relationship between the parents sours, then the couple may get embroiled in an international child custody dispute.

State, federal laws apply to international custody cases

The problem with international custody disputes is that different countries have sometimes profoundly different ways of resolving custody and visitation questions.

On a practical level, it can be very difficult for one parent to participate in a custody proceeding while in a foreign country that could be hundreds or even thousands of miles away.

This is why jurisdiction, that is, the question of which court should have the power to decide a custody and parenting time question, is a huge issue in international cases.

A network of state and federal laws, and even some international law, play a role in child custody cases. Specifically, these laws help courts determine which state, or country, should decide a custody case. How these laws apply to a given situation depends heavily on individual facts and circumstances.

Someone who is a custody battle that actually does or even potentially could cross over international borders should be sure to understand his or legal options thoroughly and be prepared to follow through persistently.

Not doing so could profoundly affect a California parent’s relationship with his or her children, oftentimes in unexpected ways.