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International child custody battle to be heard by Supreme Court

Spokane parents who have gone through or are in the middle of a child custody dispute know the emotional toll it can take. The battle is one that involves deeply personal issues, and it can result in the determination of the amount of time a person will be able to spend with his or her child. Occasionally, one parent may need to move out of state or to another country, and this can cause a potential problem with a custody order.

In general, a child custody order can be tailored specifically to each family in accordance to state law. A child custody agreement is typically filed in the state where the parents and children reside, but is respected and honored in other states as well. As a result, child custody orders are typically a state issue, handled by state family law courts.

Recently, however, the U.S. Supreme Court began considering an important issue regarding an international child custody dispute. The court has to determine whether the U.S. courts have the authority to resolve a custody dispute that takes place internationally.

The child in the middle of the case has already left the United States to Scotland with the mother as dictated by a court order. Very rarely does a high court decide to intervene in a child custody dispute. The result of the ruling may affect numerous members of the military who are stationed internationally.

Whether both parents continue to live in the same state, or one parent decides to move outside of the state, a child custody dispute can be lengthy and difficult. When parents cannot come to a consensus regarding child custody and visitation periods, a family court judge will be charged with creating an arrangement that is geared toward the best interests of the child.

Child custody can be complicated. This is especially true when a parent decides to relocate. Parents must abide by the current custody order and, if relocation is necessary, they must follow the proper procedures to modify the custody order. If a modification of a current custody order is necessary due to parental relocation, an attorney can help evaluate the case and determine if a motion to amend the custody order is appropriate.

Source: Chicago Tribune, "Supreme Court steps into international custody battle," Terry Baynes, Dec. 5, 2012

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