|Interstate and International Child Custody Issues Disputes
|In our transient world, parents and children often move from state to state, or even to other countries. Child custody
disputes, including cases where one parent kidnaps a child, are much more complicated when the case crosses a state or
international border. The Pederson Law Office has experience in interstate and international child custody cases, and the
laws and treaties which apply to them.
Most states, including Texas, have adopted the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA).
The UCCJEA is a uniform state law that determines which state’s courts have jurisdiction to make and modify child
custody determinations. The UCCJEA requires that state courts enforce child custody and visitation orders rendered by
The main provisions of the UCCJEA are:
- Priority is given to home state jurisdiction in original child custody cases (the state where child has lived for the past
- Preserves exclusive, continuing jurisdiction in the state that has made a child custody determination.
- Authorizes courts to exercise emergency jurisdiction, usually in cases involving domestic violence.
- Directs courts to decline jurisdiction created by unjustifiable conduct, such as child snatching.
- Provides procedures for enforcement of interstate child custody and visitation determination.
- Creates a registration process for interstate child custody determinations.
- Authorizes issuance of warrants to protect children at risk of being removed from the state.
The UCCJEA assures that a single court will have jurisdiction over custody proceedings, even if the child has been
abducted by a parent or guardian.
International child custody cases often involve a treaty called The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International
Child Abduction, which creates a mechanism for the quick recovery of a child wrongly taken to another county. Eighty
nations have ratified this treaty (a list of such countries can be found at http://snurl.com/hcmembers), and 59 nations have
entered into specific agreements with the United States concerning the return of children under this treaty. Most countries
from the Middle East and South America have not ratified this treaty, nor have Japan, mainland China, or the Philippines.
An application for return of a child under the Hague Convention may be made when a child is taken or retained across an
international border, away from his or her habitual residence, without the consent of a parent who has rights of custody, if
the two countries are parties to the Convention. The child must be promptly returned to the habitual residence unless the
return will create a grave risk of harm to the child.
The Pederson Law Office can represent parents from other countries if their child is taken to Texas in violation of the
custody rights of the custodial parent. An emergency lawsuit for the return of the child under the Hague Convention can be
filed in either state or federal court.
Read these REVIEWS to see what former clients say.
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|Marc A. Pederson
Attorney and Counselor at Law
|The Naylor House
1919 San Pedro Avenue
San Antonio, Texas 78212