Resolving sometimes contentious issues like property division, spousal support and child custody is rarely easy, and this is particularly true when the laws of more than one country are involved. This often happens when one of the spouses is the citizen of a foreign country or the couple married while overseas.
Customs, Religion and Culture
Efforts have been made to standardize family law in the European Union and some other parts of the world, but the rules pertaining to divorce and child custody remain rooted in culture, religion and local history in many places. That is why spouses who are dealing with international family law issues should seek out attorneys who have experience in this area and understand the important but sometimes subtle issues involved. The Family Law Attorneys at the Bell & Washington Law Firm have five decades of combined experience in divorce and child custody cases, and they include current and former judges who have issued rulings on complex international issues.
Determining which court has jurisdiction in a family law case can be challenging when the couple maintains residences in more than one country or married abroad and now lives in the United States. Filing divorce papers in the wrong jurisdiction can be an expensive mistake, as it may be weeks or even months before the error is noticed and the case is dismissed. This mistake results in unnecessary legal fees and wastes valuable time, and time can often be a crucial factor in international family law disputes. Once jurisdiction has been established, the Family Law Attorneys at Bell & Washington could:
- Verify foreign marriages: The legal status of foreign marriages must sometimes be clarified for immigration or other purposes. Our attorneys are subject matter experts and are skilled in this area.
- Draft documents: Documents like prenuptial and postnuptial agreements are of little value if they are not enforceable in the jurisdiction where the parties live. The attorneys at Bell & Washington avoid this pitfall by consulting local laws before drafting family law documents.
- Serve legal papers: Most jurisdictions have strict rules dealing with the serving of legal documents. Our attorneys ensure that these rules are followed to the letter.
- Pursue child and spousal support: Parents and divorced spouses are entitled to support in many parts of the world. The attorneys at Bell & Washington are familiar with these laws and have pursued child and spousal support in several countries.
- Litigate child custody disputes: Child custody disputes can be extremely contentious when one of the parents either moves to or plans to move to a foreign country. In these situations, our attorneys could take action to prevent child abduction or seek the return of children by pursuing rights guaranteed by the Hague Convention.
Help With International Family Law Matters
If you have questions about international family law issues, you should speak with an experienced attorney as soon as possible, as you may have to comply with strict deadlines—and common online resources often contain information that is either out of date or just plain wrong. If you would like to discuss these matters in confidence with one of our attorneys, you can call us at 404.437.6641 or use our contact form on our website to set up a consultation.