Lawyer Monthly - July 2022

EXPERT INSIGHT 52 WWW.LAWYER-MONTHLY.COM | JUL 2022 Uniform Child Abduction Prevention Act, a law existing in approximately 15 states. The risk factors include whether a parent has previously abducted or threatened to abduct a child or has a history of noncompliance with court orders or co-parenting or has stronger ties to a foreign country than the current one, including financial, familial, and/or legal (immigration). How does litigating child abduction cases vary between different US states? First, litigating child abduction cases will vary heavily depending on whether the abduction is domestic versus international. If the abduction is domestic, the laws will be usually similar between different states because the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement (“UCCJEA”), which would normally be applied in domestic child abduction cases, has been passed in 49 of 50 states. The UCCJEA prevents courts in differing states from issuing competing custody orders and mandates that only one state be permitted to issue orders related to the custody of a child. Therefore, if a child is abducted from one state to another, the state where the child is taken to will typically have to enforce and comply with the directives of the home state. In international child abduction cases, litigating these cases can vary much more greatly between different jurisdictions. I have litigated child abduction cases in approximately 15 different states and the process can look quite different depending on where the case takes place. First of all, the application of the law (case law) depends in which of the 12 regional circuits the case takes place. Though the US Supreme Court has decided five very important Hague cases (the most recent being my case) in the past dozen years, thereby resulting in greater uniform application of the law, it is still the case that different circuits have a different interpretation of the Hague Abduction Treaty. In addition, courts move at different speeds in different jurisdictions, so you may be able to get resolution of a Hague case within one month in one court where it may take six months in another. Hague cases are supposed to be acted upon expeditiously, but Some countries may simply enforce any US custody orders, while others may not be so willing.

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