There are hundreds if not thousands of horror stories about international custody/kidnapping and support. This entry will not cover the Sean Goldman case or many of the other ones recently in the news, but I decided to write this post when I read an article about a man in Germany who has finally been relieved of paying child support for a child wrongfully taken from him, 10 years ago (click here to read the story).
While getting off the hook for child support may be a relief, the big issue of retrieving an unlawfully removed child still remains. This is an issue that not only causes much pain and suffering for children and their parents, but also haunts many family law attorneys who have been unable to effectuate the release or return of a client’s wrongfully taken child. During my year as Chair of the Family Law Section of the American Bar Association I intend to work on this issue and shine more light on this problem. There are International Laws, but not every country has agreed to them, and the rules are not applied uniformly and consistently. Educating our politicians is one good way to start and I hope the ABA can help in that regard and others.
For those of you who are lawyers practicing in Georgia, we will try to address this issue at our annual Family Law Institute which I urge you to attend next Spring. On a national level, we will try to also address it at future Continuing Legal Education Seminars throughout the country. These cases are so important and time passes so fast that unless we as family law attorneys understand the rules and laws, children may go unreturned for too long, and in many cases they may never be returned. We must all be diligent, as citizens, and those of us in the legal business, must remain educated and up to date on this issue and the rules and laws in this area.