Pittsburgh Interstate & International Custody Issues Lawyer
Custody disputes are challenging and complicated at the best of times. If the parents live in different states or even more complicated, in different countries either during the marriage or after separation, the associated legal issues can be extremely complex. Questions will arise as to which court holds jurisdiction, what law applies, and how that law should apply given the circumstances of the case. If you are facing an international or interstate custody dispute, it is vital to have knowledgeable, experienced legal representation on your side.
The Pittsburgh interstate & international custody lawyers at Bunde & Roberts have over 100 years of combined experience serving clients facing issues of family law. Our Pittsburgh family law team has dealt with the most complex and convoluted matters of Pennsylvania state, federal, and even international law. We understand the stakes of your child custody matter and will fight to ensure that your rights are protected, whatever the venue and whatever the circumstance.
Pennsylvania Interstate Custody Issues
One of the first issues that arises when there is a custody dispute between parents residing in different states is ascertaining where a custody matter should be filed and which court should have jurisdiction to hear and decide the matter. Pennsylvania, along with most other states in the country, has adopted the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA). The UCCJEA is a set of laws that dictates how courts should evaluate various custody issues, including matters such as jurisdiction and choice of law.
Per the UCCJEA, the proper jurisdiction for a custody proceeding will generally be the county and state where the children have resided for the six months leading up to the custody hearing. However, if a custody order has already been put into place, then, in most cases, the court that issued the original order will be in charge of any modifications to that order. That court may decide that another court in another state may be a more appropriate jurisdiction, given the facts of the matter.
A court may consider the circumstances when considering whether to exercise jurisdiction over a custody matter when another court issued the original order, including:
- The child has deep connections to people within that state, including doctors, teachers, and other family members
- The child’s custody order was originally entered in a different state, but the court has concerns about the child’s safety or health, such as if the child was abandoned or is at risk of being neglected if sent back to the original state
Under the UCCJEA, the court which entered the original custody order must relinquish jurisdiction in order for a court in another state to allow the case to move forward in their jurisdiction. If the child has not resided in either state for six months, and the child previously or currently resides in Pennsylvania, then a Pennsylvania court may take up jurisdiction over the custody matter but must obtain consent of the court in the other jurisdiction relinquishing the case. Consult with a knowledgeable interstate child custody attorney at Bunde & Roberts to evaluate your case and advise on the best location to bring your child custody dispute.
International Child Custody Issues
When child custody matters involve parents residing in different countries, there are complicated issues of international law as well as practical concerns that can arise. Courts may consider a body of international law, including the Hague Convention, as well as the laws within each country and each state to decide matters. If you are seeking to relocate to a new country or to reunite with your child in a different country, a variety of laws and issues may come into consideration. If your former spouse takes your child to another country against your will, you might even need to seek relief under federal law.
Our dedicated international child custody attorneys will help you understand the various laws that may apply to your matter, under what jurisdiction your case may fall, and how best to position yourself to preserve and protect your parental rights.
Call for Help With Your Interstate or International Custody Issue
If you have a child custody dispute that spans states or even countries, the knowledgeable and experienced international and interstate child custody attorneys at Bunde & Roberts, P.C., can help. Our Pittsburgh family law attorneys have years of experience handling the most complex cases, and we are ready and able to fight for your rights and your children. Call the Pennsylvania family law firm Bunde & Roberts, P.C., at 412-391-4330 for a consultation. Let us help you protect your family and your rights.