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International child custody case to be taken up by Supreme Court

Child custody disputes can be complicated and involve some difficult legal questions, particularly those involving international couples. Questions of jurisdiction come into play in a very pronounced way in these cases. A case currently making its way through the court system has reached the U.S. Supreme Court. The case involves a custody dispute between a Scottish mother and a man servicing in the U.S. military.

At issue in the case is who should have custody of the couple's five year old daughter. Up until 2010, she reportedly lived with her mother in Scotland. After a failed attempt to reconcile in 2010, the mother was forced to leave the United States without her daughter her visa expired. At the time she left, the couple had initiated a custody case in an Alabama court, which eventually ruled that the father should have custody.

That decision was overturned in a federal court. In its decision, the court noted that under International Law, the girl's habitual residence was in Scotland, and she should be returned there.

It remains to be seen how the case will play out. Even if the Supreme Court does rule in favor of the father, though, returning the child to him may be a difficult process. Whatever ends up happening in the case, interesting legal questions are bound to arise.

While child custody cases don't typically involve the complicated legal questions involved in this case, they can often be complicated simply because of relationship dynamics. Having the advocacy of an experienced attorney is greatly helpful in navigating both the legal and emotional aspects of these cases.

Source: Reuters, "Supreme Court to Hear Intl. Custody Dispute," Andrew Lu, August 14, 2012

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