Each day our world becomes more interconnected. It's never been easier to communicate with those who live several time zones away; to travel just about anywhere, or even to maintain homes in multiple countries around the world. This means it is more likely for family law issues to cross international borders; making the question of what to do when faced with a cross-border, or international, issue much more common today than ever before. Depending on the issues you may be facing in your family and which country (or countries) your family may have a connection to, there are several laws which may be applicable to your family court case. In South Carolina, one or more of the following laws may apply to your cross-border issues regarding children and maintenance:
The 1980 Hague Convention (The Hague Convention of 25 October 1980 on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction): Seeks to protect children from the harmful effects of abduction and retention across international boundaries by providing a procedure to bring about their prompt return.
The following countries are signatories to the 1980 Hague Convention: https://www.hcch.net/en/instruments/conventions/status-table/?cid=24.
The Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Enforcement Ac (the UCCJEA): A uniform law, which has been adopted by 49 U.S. states, the District of Columbia, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, and determines which state has continuing, exclusive jurisdiction to deal with determination of child custody or modification and enforcement of prior orders. Also, as there are some countries who are not signatories to the 1980 Hague Convention, the UCCJEA offers a way to deal with abduction and retention issues.
The 2007 Hague Convention (The Hague Convention of 23 November 2007 on the International Recovery of Child Support and Other Forms of Family Maintenance and the Hague Protocol of 23 November 2007 on the Law Applicable to Maintenance Obligations): Gives a modern, efficient and accessible international system for the cross-border recovery of child support and other forms of family maintenance.
The following countries are signatories to the 2007 Hague Convention: https://www.hcch.net/en/instruments/conventions/status-table/?cid=131
The Uniform Interstate Family Support Act (UIFSA): This uniform law limits the jurisdiction which can establish and modify child support orders and the enforcement of maintenance obligations by determining the jurisdiction and power of the courts in the different states. It also determines which state's law will be applied in modifying or enforcing maintenance obligations, an important factor as support laws vary greatly among the states.
If you are, or someone you know is, facing a family law matter which crosses international boundaries, it is critical to work with experienced attorneys who are well equipped to handle all aspects of the local/national and the international family laws which apply to your specific facts. Your attorney must know how different legal processes work in different countries. When necessary, our firm will work together with skilled lawyers in foreign countries to protect our client's interests in each jurisdiction. Our Senior Partner, Ben Stevens, is a Fellow of the International Academy of Family Lawyers, which gives him access to the most prestigious family attorneys across the globe.
From Germany, France, Mexico, the United Kingdom and beyond, our dedicated team is able to provide legal help with family matters which involve international laws and procedures. We strive to efficiently handle our clients' international family law disputes in the matter that best fits their needs, both now and in the future.
The Stevens Firm, P.A. - Family Law Center has provided exceptional legal counsel and support to families throughout South Carolina for over two decades, handling all matters of family law, such as child custody, child support, and divorce. We are well-equipped to handle all divorce and family law matters, no matter your circumstances. Contact us at 864.598.9172 to schedule an initial consultation.