Child custody can be emotional and contentious. However, when one parent moves with the child to a foreign country without the other’s knowledge, that can create additional worries and complications.
Our attorney, Andrew Guisbond, recently spoke on this issue as a story about a mother who took her son to South Korea and a father trying to bring him back to Cape Cod continues to unfold.
One of the scariest things a parent can endure
In a recent interview with Boston news station, WCVB, Guisbond said that when a couple has a child, some can run into issues where one parent takes the child to a foreign country thousands of miles away from home without telling the other.
The two parents had been having marital issues. The mother, who is originally from South Korea, had been threatening divorce and to take their child back to her homeland.
The father said she and her parents took their son to the beach one day and never returned.
The father said his son has been gone for three weeks. He said he worries his son will forget him the longer he’s away.
International custody/abduction cases can take time to resolve
While international child custody issues can create headaches and anxiety for parents, Guisbond said in his interview that they can take months, even years, to resolve. That’s because parents are dealing with two different countries with two different court systems. Unlike the U.S., where attorneys and judges are clear on state child custody laws, parents facing international custody disputes go through the Hague Convention to determine the jurisdiction of their case. After filing a report to the Hague Convention, processing can usually take about 3 to 6 months. Once jurisdiction is determined, parents can advocate for their children’s best interests in court.
Both the United States and South Korea are part of the Hague Convention. However, there are times when countries don’t cooperate with one another, which can further complicate and delay the process.
Parents don’t have to face these challenges alone
The story of the father trying to get his son from South Korea serves as a reminder of how complicated and strenuous international child custody/abduction cases can be. However, with the proper legal counsel, parents can find a sense of clarity as they work to bring their children back to the United States.