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New bill may help with global custody disputes


New Jersey marriages that end in divorce and that involve kids can be very complicated. Child custody is one of the key issues that parents need to work out with their former partner. When that partner takes the child to another country there are many legal problems that can ensue.

A bill sponsored by Rep. Chris Smith of New Jersey has been introduced to the House of Representatives which gives the State Department more powerful diplomatic tools in child custody cases where one parent takes a child or children out of the country. Former Bergen County sheriff officer Michael Elias has been the leading advocate in helping parents who are left behind in the United States when their former spouse takes the children abroad indefinitely. Years ago Mr. Elias's wife illegally used passports to take their kids to Japan after a Bergen County judge ordered their passports be surrendered when he ordered joint custody. Representative Smith's bill would require the president to take specific actions if the child custody cases are not resolved or take place in a country with a history of non-cooperation.

Child custody disputes are common among parents who are seeking a divorce. The best interests of a child should always be a top priority, but when a parent forgoes their custody agreement legal actions may need to occur.

Child custody arrangements can be tricky issues for divorced parents. When a custody agreement is broken, such as a parent taking a child out of the country illegally, it is important that all legal avenues are pursued.

Source: northjersey.com, "Bill may help 'left behind parents' in global child custody fights," Herb Jackson, Dec. 11, 2013

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