Our Portland Custody Attorney Reviews Interstate and International Custody Laws

Child custody
When a parent is seeking to relocate or travel with a child, they should be aware of the various state, federal and international laws that regulate child custody and moving across state and international lines. Parents who do not follow these laws will negatively affect their custody or modification cases, and at worst may face criminal charges for parental kidnapping. Interstate and international child custody is a specialized practice, which not every family law attorney is equipped to handle. Our Portland custody attorney Ronald Allen Johnston litigated the first case in Oregon under the federal Parental Kidnapping Prevention Act, and has the experience and knowledge to represent parents in high-stakes contested custody litigation involving interstate and international law.

Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA)

The UCCJEA is a uniform law that almost every state has passed, including Oregon. The UCCJEA dictates what state has the authority to decide issues regarding interstate child custody. The main tenets of the UCCJEA are that:

  1. Parents should file a new child custody case in the child’s home state, which is where the child resided for the past six months; and
  2. If a child custody order already exists and a parent is seeking a modification, that state that issued the order has continuing, exclusive jurisdiction to modify it.

The UCCJEA is deceptively simple, and complications often arise when a family moves.

Uniform Interstate Family Support Act

Every state has its own child support laws and guidelines for calculation. This Act governs the enforcement of child support orders entered into by one state where a parent has moved to another. It also allows states to enter and enforce child support orders through administrative agencies if the custodial parent is receiving government and welfare assistance due to the other’s non-payment of support. A child support order from an administrative agency is legal and enforceable as a judicial order.

The Federal Parental Kidnapping Prevention Act (PKPA)

The PKPA works in conjunction with the UCCJEA and seeks to discourage parents from moving to a new state to obtain a more favorable child custody order (known as “forum shopping.”) The PKPA dictates that states must honor each other’s the child custody orders. It also has criminal provisions making it a federal crime to take a child across state lines in violation of an existing state custody order.

The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction

The Hague Convention is an international child custody treaty with many member countries, including the United States, which governs and enforces member countries’ child custody orders. The intention of the Hague Convention is to expeditiously return a child to his or her rightful parent and country when the other parent has violated a custody order. The Hague Convention also regulates international adoptions for member countries.

If you are a parent and have an interstate or international child custody issue, compare Portland family lawyer Ronald Allen Johnston’s experience and credentials against other family law attorneys. Mistakes made in these cases can have extreme consequences for families, and it is necessary to hire an attorney qualified in these matters. Contact our Portland custody lawyer Ronald Johnston to learn more about your rights and obligations under interstate and international child custody laws.

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