International custody disputes can create very complicated issues for parents to resolve. Custody disputes are often complex, even when both parents remain in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. When one parent moves to another country, these disputes become so much more complicated to handle. When this is the case, you need an experienced PA family law attorney who is well-versed in the complexities of international law, federal law, and state law. An experienced lawyer can make sure your needs are protected.
If you need assistance with an international custody arrangement now or in the future, the experienced attorneys at the Lento Law Firm are here and ready to help you.
International Custody Attorney in Pennsylvania
Attorney Joseph D. Lento has spent many years fighting passionately for clients to protect their rights as a parent. He is a skillful negotiator and can make efforts to get the results you want diplomatically when possible. When it is not, he is a proven fighter who knows the law and will put it to use for you. You have rights as a parent, and they deserve protection.
If you need assistance with an international custody issue in Pennsylvania and need comprehensive, customized legal representation, contact the attorneys at Lento Law Firm. Joseph Lento built his practice on the ideals of customer service and justice and he will fight for your rights as a parent. Call (888) 535-3686 today to schedule your consultation and discover what Joseph Lento can do for you.
International Custody in Pennsylvania
Custody disputes are common in divorce cases and usually continue long after the divorce has been finalized and prior custody arrangements are settled. These negotiations and discussions are ever-changing, and disputes often occur for many years to come. When the parents cannot agree, this creates significant issues, especially when one parent is out of the country and wants custody of the child.
Courts determine custody arrangements based on the best interest of the child, including factors such as:
- Parental employment
- Child's interaction with siblings
- Needs of the child
- History of domestic violence
- Cooperativeness of the parents
- Proximity of the parents to one another
- How much time the child spent with parents before separation
- Safety of the child from abuse
- Ages of the children
- Preference of the child (if they are old enough)
This does not change simply because international custody is the issue, rather than traditional in-state or in-country custody disputes. International disputes tend to have other considerations that a judge must take into account, such as:
- significant traveling distances for visitation
- high travel costs
- extended parenting times
- interruptions to education schedule
- whether a residential parent can move out of the country, considering the effect it has on the parent remaining in the U.S.
These important considerations are not easy to deal with, but with the help of your experienced Pennsylvania family law attorney, your rights will be protected.
The International Parental Kidnapping Act
Often, international custody disputes happen when a child has been "kidnapped" in violation of international law. These issues arise when:
- the child was wrongfully removed or retained
- the removal or retention was in violation of the other parent's custody rights
- the other parent would have been exercising his or her rights if not for the wrongful acts of the other parent
Under federal law, it is a violation of the law for a parent to remove "a child from the United States, or attempt to do so, or retain a child (who has been in the United States) outside of the United States with no intent to obstruct the lawful exercise of parental rights.” Under this federal statute, a "child" is defined as an individual under the age of 16.
The Hague Convention
The Hague Convention is an international treaty that creates the system for parents to regain custody of their child that was wrongfully removed or retained child and have that child returned to the United States. This international law can help protect your rights as a parent if your child is wrongfully removed or retained in another country. Understanding this international law is key to enforcing your rights as a parent if your child was removed from the country.
By working with the Department of State, you and your attorney can follow the provisions of the Hague Convention to get your children back. The Department of State will also work on your behalf in order to effectuate the return of your children by negotiating with the "Central Authority" of the other country to make sure the Hague Convention laws are followed.
Defending Your Case
If you face charges under the International Kidnapping Act, Joseph Lento is a highly experienced criminal defense attorney who can represent your rights not only on the family law side but also on the criminal side. Many of these cases are misunderstandings or done in the heat of the moment. With a powerful defense, you can protect your constitutional rights, and seek to avoid the potential prison time you could face under federal law.
Under the International Kidnapping Act, you could face up to 3 years in prison for kidnapping a child over country lines, as defined by that act. These charges could lead to a felony record when you simply thought you were protecting your rights, or simply had a lapse in judgment. In many of these cases, the charges can be reduced or dismissed through negotiation, rather than fully prosecuted criminally. In any case, you deserve a strong defense of your case.
Pennsylvania International Custody Attorney
International custody cases can be complex, but that complexity does not have to be your problem. An experienced custody attorney can handle your case effectively on your behalf, saving you the headache, all while vigorously protecting your rights as a parent.
Joseph D. Lento is well-versed in international custody law. He will inform you of your options in international custody predicaments, protect your rights, and help you understand and navigate the court system. For more information about Mr. Lento's representation, contact the Lento Law Firm today at 888-535-3686.