Assistance With International Family Law Issues
Our attorneys have worked with clients around the world on a great deal of international family law cases with issues including divorce, child custody, property division and business issues when one spouse lives out of the United States.
We have also been involved in negotiating many prenuptial agreements where one or both parties live abroad, child custody cases where one party wants to move with a child out of the country or where one parent unlawfully takes or keeps a child out of the United States.
The following are some of the most common international family law issues our San Francisco lawyers have addressed:
Barry Schneider has represented clients in many divorce matters where one spouse is living and/or working in a foreign country and the other spouse and/or a child or children remain in California. In these cases, financial support and custody considerations can be particularly complicated, but we have been able to resolve these cases through local and sometimes foreign courts and many times through negotiations between the parties and counsel.
Some of the fundamental issues are concerned tax and financial complexities when one of the parties owns a business, property division agreements that secure and protect our clients and negotiations for appropriate child custody and spousal support agreements and orders.
International Prenuptial Agreements
International clients who intend to marry and who want the protection of a prenuptial agreement should always consider the international ramifications of any proposed agreement. The world is getting smaller and globalizing. International borders matter far less to most aspects of life than was the case a few decades ago. Divorce laws remain local and often inequitable.
The laws concerning prenuptial agreements and marriage contracts vary considerably around the world and the attitudes of courts to such contracts diverge significantly and in many different ways from country to country. Outside of the European Union, there is generally no international law that governs the application of local law to international personal relationships, so these issues need to be carefully addressed in a prenuptial agreement.
Drafting international prenuptial agreements can be complicated. Our office has extensive experience in negotiating and preparing such agreements when one or both of the parties intend to live outside of the United States after their marriage.
International Child Custody Cases
As a result of the global nature of our world, the reduced cost of international travel and technological advances in communication, there are more international marriages today than ever before. A great deal of theses marriages, however, will end in divorce, which may result in complicated international custody issues.
After parents separate or divorce, they often have ongoing custody disputes. Some of the most difficult custody disputes involve one parent’s decision to wrongfully remove a child from his or her home country or retain the child in a foreign country without the other parent’s consent. In such cases, the parent who has been left behind may be able to invoke the protections of a local court or the protection of what is known as the Hague Convention in order to help remedy the situation.
International clients can face many unusual custody predicaments, but the most common ones involve the following dilemmas: A parent wants to move to another country with a child, either after divorce or at the time of separation, or, a parent has already moved with a child and the other parent wants the child back, or, a parent does not want to trust another country’s court for the custody case.
The essence of custody jurisdiction law is that a parent should not gain any legal or practical advantage by taking a child to a new state or country. Though fraught with drama and emotion, these are procedural cases in which the basic concept is that the parties should negotiate child custody issues in good faith or should go to court in the child’s habitual residence before moving, instead of moving and then going to court.