Asked in Divorce, Family Law, Child Custody and International Law for Florida

Q: How do I prevent my husband from returning to the US with our children?

I am a US defense contractor in Germany. My husband is threatening to leave me and take our two children back to the US. We are here under the NATO Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA). What are my options to prevent him from taking them back to Florida? Do I need to file for divorce or is there some other method?

2 Lawyer Answers
Jane Kim
Jane Kim pro label Lawyers, want to be a Justia Connect Pro too? Learn more ›
  • International Law Lawyer
  • Naples, FL
  • Licensed in Florida

A: I am not a family lawyer but I work on international cases. This is what I know...

If the child is not present in Florida and resides abroad, Florida courts may not have jurisdiction over child custody matters under normal circumstances. Jurisdiction in child custody cases is typically determined by the child's habitual residence, which is the place where the child has been living with a present intent to make it their permanent home.

In cases involving international child custody disputes, the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction may come into play. The Hague Convention aims to provide a framework for the prompt return of children who have been wrongfully removed or retained across international borders.

If you wish to establish a child custody arrangement and the child is living abroad, you may should seek legal recourse in the country where the child resides. This involves engaging legal counsel in Germany.

Good luck.

Pamela J. Fero agrees with this answer

James L. Arrasmith
James L. Arrasmith pro label Lawyers, want to be a Justia Connect Pro too? Learn more ›
  • Divorce Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA

A: To prevent your husband from taking the children back to the US without your consent, you should seek legal advice from an attorney experienced in family law and international child custody matters. Given your situation as a US defense contractor in Germany under the NATO Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA), international child custody laws and agreements may apply. Consulting with an attorney will help you understand your rights and explore legal options, which may include filing for divorce or obtaining a court order to protect the children's custody and travel arrangements. - James Arrasmith, Owner. The Law Offices of James L. Arrasmith.

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