Monday, February 22, 2010

...and my children live in Canada.

What do you do when your ex, or even your ex soon to be, wants to move, and doesn't just want to move to Lilburn, but wants to move to another country?  Maybe that doesn't sound bad at all, but how about if your ex wants to take your kids?

Your first thought? "Fight for custody!"  And you'd be technically right, but infrequently, practically right.  Before you launch into such a war, you need a thorough evaluation of whether you are going to win such a war.  I'm a firm advocate of only starting fights you can finish.  I reason that you aren't much good to your kids when you're dead, and losing a custody battle can be a similar fate.

But I don't mean for tonight's entry to be about the intracacies of custody battles.  That tome can be saved for another day or series of days or even weeks.  Tonight I'm writing about your ex moving the children to foreign lands. 

Almost always when the ex says it's time to move to a foreign country, the country is not foreign to the ex.  The ex is from there.  And almost always, the American spouse knew that before the marriage.  Usually the American spouse has visited the homeplace on at least one occasion. So this announcement is seldom a surprise.

The American spouse often thinks that the foreign spouse will run off with the kids, never to be seen again.  However, that is seldom the case.  There are certainly great examples of bad moms running away to the far reaches of the Earth, but that is not the common experience.  The Hague Convention renders that option a fools choice.  Foreign parents don't get far by running home.  The foreign courts will enforce United States' Orders under the Hague Convention.  If the foreign court gets a bit sluggish, the State Department will remind them of their legal obligation.

Getting your kids home can take more time than you want it to take (doesn't almost everything?).  But when the children are shipped home, your ex is likely to only see them in extremely limited circumstances for years to come.

That's why foreign born parents rarely run.  They take the good situation they have and make it far worse. 

In this day of international travel and relocation, Courts increasingly look upon foreign relocation as they might long distance United States relocation, such as moving to Oregon or even Alaska.  Courts are not overwhelmed by the thoughts of the children living in Germany or France or Malaysia but they are interested in maintaining the relationship between the children and the non-custodial parent. 

Not only do the children come home as often as possible, the non-custodial parent develops a new holiday spot.

I don't mean to make this sound peachy.  It isn't.  But it isn't much different than your kids moving to Vermont or San Fransisco.  Moving to a different country isn't the issue.  The distance is.

I'll write more on that issue soon.

No comments:

Post a Comment