The problems of international child abductions

Child custody and visitation disputes are often a major concern of North Carolina parents when they go through a divorce. While most of these issues are resolved, some parents take the extreme action of taken the child to another country in violation of a court order. According to the U.S. State Department, more than 8,000 children were internationally abducted by a parent between 2008 and 2013. Some of these cases have received significant publicity and have ended up in U.S. courts, while many others are still being attempted to be resolved

In order to address this issue, the United States and 92 other countries are signatories to an international treaty that covers how countries should handle these matters. However, extradition laws and international legal complexities make things challenging. In many cases, it is difficult to know which country is now harboring the child and parent. Additionally, even when the whereabouts are known, the costs to a custodial parent of traveling to another country to pursue legal proceedings can be prohibited.

A New Jersey congressman has championed this cause in recent years, in part as a result of children of constituents being abducted to a foreign country. Legislation that he introduced and that has become law requires the U.S. State Department to take certain actions against countries who are not cooperating with U.S. authorities in violation of the treaty.

Custody battles are difficult at best to all parties involved, including the child. When a court issues a custody order as part of divorce proceedings, the best interests of the child are paramount in its decision. A custodial parent who is having difficulty in seeing such an order complied with by the noncustodial parent may want to seek the advice and counsel of a family law attorney.