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Custody Cases Where One Parent Lives Outside of Illinois

When Different States are Involved, Who Has Jurisdiction?

Families are becoming more global and less tied down to one city, or even one state. When a couple with children decides to end their relationship, an already emotional process can become even more complex.

Sometimes parents live in different states, or even different countries, and they both desire custody of their child. Illinois has passed the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA) to help regulate these issues. The UCCJEA has also been passed by all of the other states in the United States.

Only one court at a time can have jurisdiction-the authority to hear a court case. The UCCJEA has a framework to help judges decide which court is the best place to move forward. Typically, the court where a child physically lives will have jurisdiction; however, there are several exceptions that are designed to prevent a parent from just taking a child and running to a place that the parent perceives to be friendlier. When dealing with interstate custody matters, it is important to act quickly and to obtain reliable advice.

International Complications

Many people mistakenly believe that if a child is overseas, there is nothing a U.S. court can do. However, the United States is a member of the Hague convention on International Child Abduction. The countries that have signed this treaty agree to respect the custody decisions made in the courts of the member countries.

If a U.S. court had entered a child custody order and a parent takes his or her child out of the country against the order, it is considered parental abduction under international law.

Depending on the circumstances of the case, the U.S custody order may be enforced in another country. However, many countries are not a part of the Hague Convention. This does not mean that options are not available, but it does make the process of dealing with an international custody dispute much more complicated.

Parents may wish to try and work out custody issues on their own. However, when one parent lives in another state or country, there are often several advantages to being the first to file a custody case.

Speak with an Illinois Family Law Lawyer Today

If you have questions regarding international or interstate child custody, please contact an experienced Wheaton family law lawyer. Call The Stogsdill Law Firm, P.C. today at 630-462-9500 to schedule a consultation.


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The Stogsdill Law Firm, P.C.
1776 S. Naperville Road - Building B, Suite 202
Wheaton, IL 60189

Phone: 630-690-6077
Phone: 630-462-9500
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