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Court to determine which country will decide child custody case

Divorcing couples with minor children understand that they will need to address a variety of child custody issues in Louisiana. For some couples, negotiating a child custody agreement is a fairly straightforward process. When both parents respect and trust each other, and when the kids have close relationships with both parents, negotiating a child custody agreement may involve little conflict.

However, resolving child custody issues during divorce may also get complicated very quickly, especially when parents are military members or work in other states or countries. The first issue divorcing parents may need to resolve is which state or country will review and decide their case. Although judges will mainly focus on what is in the child's best interests when resolving custody cases in the U.S., other countries may follow other guidelines when deciding custody cases. For some parents, having a case decided in another country could be detrimental.

Currently, one American father is waiting to find out which country his child custody case will be decided in. The man's ex-wife, who lives in Europe, has accused the man of wrongfully keeping his children in Tennessee after he filed a petition to divorce his wife last summer.

The custody case went to trial last week in Tennessee. The court will need to decide whether the child custody dispute between the divorcing husband and wife will be decided in the U.S., Hungary or Romania.

This case is especially complex because of several factors. The American man and his wife, who is Romanian, were married in 1996 in Romania. Before giving birth to twin boys three years later, the couple moved to Texas and lived there until 2004. The couple and their children then moved to Hungary and lived there until last summer. During the summer, the couple sent their children to the U.S. to stay with their paternal grandparents for a while. While the children were in the U.S., the couple then moved from Hungary to Romania.

When the husband left Romania to go back to the U.S. to get the couple's children, the husband decided to stay in Tennessee with his children and he filed for a divorce. The man is now requesting to have primary custody of his children. The man claims that his wife had threatened to divorce him if he didn't find a job in Romania before returning to the country with his children. He decided to file for a divorce first because he was worried that he would not get custody of his twin boys.

It will certainly be interesting to see what the court decides in this case.

Source: The Tennessean, "International child custody trial begins in Nashville," Sheila Burke, May 22, 2013

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