U.S. Supreme Court rules on international child custody dispute

Children in a relationship are important to both parents. However, occasionally when a relationship involves a parent who is a foreign national, the issue of child custody and visitation can get complex.

Florida parents in child custody and visitation disputes may find it consoling to learn that in an international child custody dispute, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of an American father whose now six year old daughter has been residing with her mother in Scotland for the past three years.

In 2011 a federal judge allowed the mother to take the girl to Scotland citing it as her "habitual residence". The mother tried to patch up the relationship in 2010 but was deported after overstaying her visa. The father appealed and the Court of Appeals dismissed his appeal noting that his daughter was already in Scotland thus the point was moot and beyond the Court's control.

Recently, the Supreme Court ruled that the court of appeals should have considered the merits of the father's appeal and noted that the father has a right to seek custody of his daughter even though she is in Scotland with her mother. It is unclear if the Scottish Courts will honor this U.S. Supreme Court ruling.

In today's changing world, the family dynamic is also changing. Parents can come from all walks of life and from anywhere in the world. When relationships between U.S. citizens and foreign nationals blossom and grow, any children from that relationship are stuck in the middle when custody issues arise. These disputes can arise at any time and anyone can face them.

For any parent facing a child custody dispute, the issue is too personal and an emotional topic. The emotions involved may cloud a rational mind and thus it may be helpful to seek the advice of an attorney in this area of law to understand one's options, the implications of the U.S. Supreme Court ruling and any other child custody related issues.

Source: Yahoo News, "Supreme Court rules for Army father in custody battle," Lawrence Hurley, Feb. 19, 2013

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