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International child custody dispute continues in New Jersey

Readers in Newton, New Jersey, may have already heard about the international custody battle that has been going on in New Jersey since 2008. A father brought his daughter to the United States illegally and in violation of the Hague Convention. But recently, the New Jersey Supreme Court temporarily blocked the girl involved from being reunited with her mother in Turkey. It's the latest event in the bitter child custody dispute.

The court's block of the girl's return to Turkey stems from the father trying to overturn a family court judge's ruling in 2011 ordering the girl returned to her mother. The girl was barred from leaving the country while the New Jersey Supreme Court decided to hear the case. Then, after refusing to hear the case, the court granted a 15-day stay while the father's attorneys file an appeal with the U.S. Supreme Court. Had the stay not been issued, the daughter would now be back in Turkey with her mother.

While this case is more complicated than the average child custody dispute due to its international aspect, it brings up an important issue of child custody relocation. When a custodial parent relocates with a child, it can create serious problems with the child custody situation, because it usually forces a child to have a long distance relationship with the noncustodial parent.

If the parents do not have an agreement about the relocation, a child custody dispute may arise if the noncustodial parent objects to the move based on the effect it will have on his or her custody and visitation rights with the child. The courts are then left with the decision of whether the child custody relocation is in the best interests of the child. If the court decides that it is not, it may require the custodial parent to remain in the state.

It is important to note that child custody relocation laws vary greatly among the states. The laws set the requirements for relocating with a child, including rules for noticing the other parent, consent and presumptions. A custodial parent alone cannot make the decision to relocate the child.

Source: NorthJersey.com "International custody battle continues as high court delays lower court ruling," John Petrick, Sept. 21, 2012

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