New Jersey Divorce Attorneys Experienced in International Custody

Custody disputes involving citizens of the United States and other countries are becoming increasingly common. Often a bitter dispute arises when one parent improperly removes his or her child from the United States without the other parent’s permission or a court order. There are several legal remedies available to the parent seeking to have their child returned to the United States, so long as the United States has jurisdiction. These remedies include but are not limited to the following:

  • The Hague Convention: This is an international treaty available to parents seeking to have their child returned to the United States as a result of wrongful removal and/or retention of the child in another country. This treaty is only effective if both countries are signators to the Convention. The Hague Convention provides judicial mechanisms to have a child who was improperly removed from the United States to another country returned to the United States promptly. The United States is a signator to the Hague Convention.
  • Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA):The UCCJEA is a New Jersey Statute, which repealed the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Act (UCCJA) in 2004 and provides for the enforcement of the Hague Convention. The UCCJEA is codified at N.J.S.A. 2A:34-53, et. seq.
  • The UCCJEA prioritizes jurisdictional bases and clearly defines the procedure that should be utilized in the enforcement of interstate custody and visitation orders, along with the jurisdictional requirements. Examples of the jurisdiction and enforcement provisions of the UCCJEA include but are not limited to the following:
    • Providing priority to the home State in initial custody proceedings;
    • Requiring an expedited hearing to address the physical production of the child;
    • Authorizing courts to exercise emergency jurisdiction if abuse is alleged;
    • Permitting public officials and/or law enforcement to assist in the enforcement of custody orders;
    • Preserving exclusive continuing jurisdiction in the State that issued the decree/visitation order; and
    • Providing rules to address inconvenient forums.
  • Parental Kidnapping Prevention Act (PKPA): The PKPA is a New Jersey Statute that was enacted in 1980 in an attempt to bring uniformity to interstate custody disputes. Although the PKPA is similar to the UCCJA, which has since been repealed, there are significant distinctions. For example, in initial custody cases the PKPA gives priority to the home State, whereas the UCCJA did not. It also provides for exclusive continuing jurisdiction to the home State.

International custody disputes are rarely easy and almost always contentious. The above legal remedies are examples of efforts being made by countries, specifically the United States, to be in conformity with each other in regard to the jurisdictional procedures used in interstate custody disputes.

Given the complexities of International Custody issues and Divorce in New Jersey, we advise you to contact one of our experienced divorce lawyers or family law attorneys at 973-627-7300 at Einhorn Harris today. We handle child custody and divorce issues throughout New Jersey.