Guiding You Toward A Better Future

Who decides what country international child custody cases are handled in?

On Behalf of | Jun 1, 2023 | Child Custody

Ohio follows established legal principles and international treaties to determine which country has jurisdiction when handling international child custody cases. Jurisdiction refers to the authority or power of a court to hear and decide a case.

When it comes to international child custody cases, jurisdiction determines which country’s court has the legal right to make decisions regarding the custody and visitation of a child. Specific rules and procedures may vary depending on the circumstances and the applicable laws, but here is a general overview of how Ohio handles such cases.

The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction

Suppose the countries involved are signatories to the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, which aims to secure the prompt return of children wrongfully taken to or retained in any participating country. In this case, the provisions of the Convention will be followed. The Convention provides guidelines for determining jurisdiction and facilitating the child’s return to their habitual residence.

The Hague abduction convention is an international agreement adopted in 1980 to deal with international child abduction during domestic disputes. It stipulates that children wrongfully taken from their country have to be returned to that country so that custody disputes can be resolved there.

Exceptions to The Hague’s general return requirement

While habitual residence plays a significant role in deciding jurisdiction, Ohio courts also prioritize the child’s best interests. The best interests standard helps to ensure the custody arrangement promotes the child’s well-being and welfare. In other words, there is an exception to this general return requirement if there is a grave risk that returning the child to their country would expose them to psychological or physical harm.

But even then, though not obligated, a court can consider ways to reduce that risk so the child can still return home. In this case, the court aims to make a decision that safeguards the child’s best interests while respecting the laws and international agreements governing international child custody cases.

Determining the jurisdiction for international child custody cases is a meticulous process that considers habitual residence and the child’s best interests. Ohio courts follow the guidelines set by The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction to help ensure a fair and just resolution in particularly sensitive cases.

FindLaw Network