Jamie Graham & Associates, PLLC

When you have concerns about international custody

Custody disputes can create a lot of stress for Texas parents in the process of a divorce. If you also have worries about potential international issues, you may deal with a whole other set of legal questions.

When one parent lives or travels outside of the United States, the other parent may fear that he or she will take the children out of the country permanently. Getting them back can mean dealing with the legal systems of various countries. The Hague Convention provides a mechanism for systems in signatory countries to cooperate with one another to facilitate the return of children to their rightful residence.

When the Hague Convention applies

Two top issues in a Hague Convention case include the existence of a custody order and the main residence of the children. These can determine whether the Hague Convention will operate to return the children and which country's law will apply in the case.

Generally, primary residence means staying in one country for at least six months. However, there may be other factors that can show the custodial parent's intent to reside permanently with the children in a particular location.

Invoking the Convention's provisions

Signatory countries have contact points set up to deal with Convention issues. Dealing with the system in another country can be complex and may differ greatly from routine custody proceedings at home. For this reason, it is important to consult a family law attorney who is familiar with the intricacies of international custody problems.

For the Convention to apply, you may need to show that the other parent violated your custody rights. Most often, you have to prove this by demonstrating that taking the children abroad conflicted with provisions in a custody order issued by a court. In many cases, it would not violate a custody order to take children abroad for a vacation, medical purposes or education. However, the other parent may be obligated to obtain your consent before doing so. If you feel international custody issues may arise in the future, discussing your concerns with an attorney early on can help you plan a strategy to reduce the chances of potential problems.


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At Jamie Graham & Associates, PLLC, we have received a variety of honors and awards for our family law services. Members of our team have been listed as Top Lawyers in San Antonio Scene magazine. We take pride in the number of positive reviews we have received from satisfied clients. On AVVO, a lawyer rating website, we have received an 8.9 rating overall and many positive ratings from clients and colleagues.

  1. Top 10 Attorneys | American Jurist Institute | 2017
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Jamie Graham & Associates, PLLC
310 South St. Mary's Street
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San Antonio, TX 78205

Phone: 210-272-7034
Fax: 210-308-5669