Florida Law & International Child Custody Cases

Providing Holistic, Child-Centered Solutions Throughout the Coral Gables and Miami-Dade County Areas for High-Conflict and Transitioning Families

International custody disputes are common with such a diverse mix of international residents in Florida. Parents living in different countries must also consider a number of other factors when establishing their child custody rights, in addition to Florida’s standard laws.

Any court decision must be based on what is in the child’s best interest. Both parents’ citizenship statuses are also important.

Cases of International Child Abduction

International child custody disputes frequently involve parents abducting children illegally fleeing the country. Parents may also keep children in another country for an extended period of time. The Hague Convention, the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA), and other international laws can help you safeguard your parental rights in these situations.

In the event that a child has been wrongfully removed from the U.S., a parent may invoke the Hague Convention to have the child returned. Those nations that adopted the Hague Convention are known as signatory nations. The guidelines are adhered to by more than 100 countries at present.

In accordance with the Hague Convention, a wrongfully removed child must be returned to their country as soon as possible. The law of the country in which the child resides determines whether a parent has legal custody rights.

In international custody disputes, several factors may be considered.

An international custody dispute involves determining which country has jurisdiction.

Until one of the following events happens, a Florida court has exclusive, continuing jurisdiction over an initial custody determination:

  • The state determines that the child or the child and one parent have no significant connection to Florida.
  • There is no evidence of the child’s care, protection, training, and personal relationships in Florida.


  • Courts in another state determine that a child, the child’s parents, and anyone acting as a parent do not reside in Florida.

If there is a child custody dispute, one of the key questions is: do we need to modify a custody order from another state? Generally, the order should be modified in the state where the child, children, or one parent still resides.

What Is the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Act?

The Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Act (UCCJEA) deals specifically with where action for child custody should be heard in international and interstate custody cases.

In general, the UCCJEA performs the following functions:

  • Promotes cooperation between states to determine which state is best qualified to make child-related decisions.
  • Makes sure that international custody litigation or interstate custody litigation occurs in the state with the most immediate link to the child and where their interests are best suited (education, care, etc.).
  • Ensures that state orders do not conflict.
  • The prevention of international custody abductions or the removal of children from one state to another in order to obtain custody awards.
  • Prevents re-litigation of custody decisions of other states or increasing international custody litigation.
  • Ensures that international custody orders or orders of other states are enforced.
  • Promotes and expands the exchange of information between courts and other forms of mutual aid.

Some states may decline to hear a custody dispute if it is clear that the matter has been brought in the wrong state. Alternatively, a motion to quash might be needed if an action for custody was served in the wrong state.

What Is an Emergency Custody Determination?

A Florida court may appoint a temporary emergency custody order for a child present in Florida if the child has been abandoned or mistreated. To resolve the emergency, defend the parties’ and child’s safety, and determine the duration of the temporary order, the Florida court will most likely communicate with the court of another state if there are known international custody proceedings.

At Hache Law Firm, we advocate aggressively on behalf of our clients using a comprehensive understanding of international custody laws. With the support of our family attorneys, you can develop a proper strategy, understand your rights and responsibilities regarding international custody determination, and protect your interests to ensure that your children’s interests are considered.

Child custody proceedings and other family law matters are extremely complex and require the assistance of a knowledgeable attorney. You won’t want to go into a child custody proceeding alone.

For more information about the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Act (UCCJEA), international custody rights, or moving to a new city or another state with a former spouse’s child, get in touch with the Hache Law Firm, which has represented numerous clients in dealing with out-of-state or international custody issues.