The United States Supreme Court had it’s say in an international child custody matter by overturning the ruling of a Florida court. The Supreme Court ruled unanimously that American courts are able to have input in international child custody battles, and that American courts do have the right to rule upon the merits of the case.
This matter came about when the wife of a U.S. military soldier took the couple’s daughter to Scotland and then refused to return the child to the custody of her father after the couple was divorced. The Florida court felt that the case was moot because the girl had been living in Scotland for over a year, but the U.S. Supreme Court decided that there is much more to be decided before such a custody decision could be made.
This is not the first case of this kind. Parents have often been separated from their children following a divorce and had to resort to court action to regain custody when one of the parents took the child to another country. What the U.S. Supreme Court seems to be saying in these situations is that a parent should at least be allowed to have their matter heard.
Sadly, courts do not always get the cooperation of other nations in resolving child custody disputes. However, that’s different than suggesting the court should have no say in which parent should gain custody.
Determinations of what is in the best interest of the child need to be made, and arguments by attorneys for both parents need to be heard. We cannot afford to have parents bypass this requirement by fleeing with a child to another country.
We hope for the child’s sake that decisions as to what is best for the child will be honored.
Source: Fox News, “Supreme Court says Army dad must be heard in custody battle for daughter,” by Perry Chiaramonte, Feb. 19, 2013
- Learn more about child custody, time sharing, parenting plans and visitation at our Florida lawyers’ website.