The Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (“UCCJEA”) governs many international child custody disputes involving California (or any state within the United States) and a foreign country. In addition, the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction (“Hague Convention”) as made effective in the United States by the International Child Abduction Prevention Act (“ICARA”), which is a federal law, governs international custody disputes between countries that have both signed the Hague Convention treaty. Whether the foreign country has signed the Hague Convention or not determines how the California court can proceed as a matter of law and this determination in turn
WARNING: Never attempt to litigate a “move-away” case on your own. As every divorce attorney in California who has filed or defended a “move away” case will tell you, this area of law is fraught with fatal technicalities and a single innocent mistep can cost you your relationship with your children.
The Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (“UCCJEA”) is the controlling law. This statute has been adopted, with some minor modifications, in every state. We have litigated a number of “move-away” cases with great success.
One recent case involved a Nigerian couple residing in New Jersey. (Foreign nationals living in the U.S. are subject to the UCCJEA. Custody disputes in which one parent resides in the United States and the other parent resides in foreign country may be covered by the Hague Convention.) They had one young child and Mother decided she wanted to move to California. Father had to stay in New Jersey. Mother moved without Father’s consent and Father retained us.
At the hearing on jurisdiction, the New Jersey court and the California court conferred with each other telephonically, which is what the law requires courts to do when determining which state has jurisdiction. We were present in Pasadena and were able to satisfy the court that New Jersey had jurisdiction. Producing this result “tipped” the case in Father’s favor and within a month, Father was able to secure substantial custody rights in New Jersey.
We receive calls from all over the United States and Europe and from as far away as India asking for help in dealing with, among other things, Borderline Personality Disorder cases. These inquiries typically fall into one of four categories. First, many callers want to know if we know an attorney in their area who specializes in Borderline Personality Disorder. Unfortunately, with the notable exception of one attorney in San Diego, California, I do not.
Second, because I am a Los Angeles divorce attorney, some callers ask me to talk with their local attorney because she or he “just doesn’t understand what is going on.” I am happy to accede to these requests and I have never refused an invitation to coach local counsel on what Borderline Personality Disorder is, the typical shenanigans Borderlines engage in, and how a Borderline Personality Disorder case differs from all other family law cases.
Third, some callers want me to associate into their case and appear locally with their local