Family court judges often have to consider a wide variety of issues when ruling on child custody arrangements. For example, in New York, judges may consider the following:
- Each parent’s lifestyle
- The bond between the child and each parent
- An older child’s preference
- The ability of each parent to care for the child
- How the child might be affected by changing schools or leaving friends behind
Matters can become especially complicated if a child custody dispute crosses state or national jurisdictions.
For example, the United States Supreme Court recently made a difficult ruling with regard to the international child custody treaty called the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. The case was brought by a father whose child has been living in New York with her mother.
The parents were reportedly Colombian nationals when they met in England and later had a child together in 2005. Three years later, the mother, who claims the father was abusive, took the child to a women’s shelter and later to France. From there, the mother and daughter moved to New York to live with the mother’s sister.
During all that time, the father claims that he didn’t know where his daughter was, so he was unable to meet the Hague Convention’s deadline for filing a motion to have the little girl brought back to England. A parent has to file such a motion within a year of the alleged abduction.
According to the Hague Convention, after that year-long period, the child may be legally regarded as “settled” in the current state of residence. The high court noted the father’s quandary but ultimately decided that the child custody treaty does not provide for an extension of the one-year deadline.
In essence, the Supreme Court ruled against uprooting the child from her home in New York.
If you want to know more about the legal side of establishing child custody rights and protecting the best interests of children, then our family law website is a good resource.
Source: The Washington Post, “Supreme Court says it cannot alter deadline set by international accord on child abduction,” Robert Barnes, March 5, 2014