What to Know About International Co-Parenting

Navigating Ohio state laws governing child custody and co-parenting is a complex process in itself, but when one parent moves abroad, it can become even more complicated. Making sure that your parenting plan continues to serve your child’s best interests is important and working with a family law attorney who has direct experience with long-distance and especially international child custody can make things easier for your family.

Finding a way to effectively co-parent with your former spouse living in another country helps promote your child’s well-being. Understanding what type of laws and processes impact child custody in both Ohio and different countries can empower you in pursuing healthy and balanced co-parenting.

Child Custody in Ohio

In Ohio, the law recognizes two child custody categories: physical and legal. Physical custody concerns where the child lives, and which parent is responsible for their day-to-day life. Legal custody is about decision-making and who gets to do so for major areas of the child’s life, including healthcare, education, and religion. Physical and legal custody arrangements can be different. Either custody can be joint or sole. In the case of sole physical custody, the judge usually grants the other parent visitation rights and determines their schedule.

Ohio is one of the 48 states that adhere to the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act or UCCJEA. This improves consistency among states when addressing child custody matters.

The UCCJEA primarily focuses on:

  • Granting jurisdiction over the child’s custody case to their original home state
  • Ensuring state courts enforce custody, parenting, and visitation orders that another state issued

This helps ensure that an Ohio court order concerning child custody continues to be enforced if the child and/or one of their parents relocate to another state.

Laws Governing International Child Custody

Ohio usually requires that a custodial parent planning to relocate notify the state court and the other parent of their plan. This allows time for their former spouse to respond. If they contest the move, the judge may evaluate the situation to determine whether the move is in the child’s best interests.

If either parent moves abroad, the situation presents new challenges even though many countries recognize the UCCJEA outside of the United States. As such, these countries are ready to enforce existing child custody court orders.

Other international laws such as the Hague Convention also protect children and ensure that adults bringing them into a specific country have the authority to do so. This helps fight against child abduction by a parent so the child can return to their other parent safely as soon as possible. The Hague Convention also promotes lawful parental visitation around the world.

Even under the UCCJEA and the Hague Convention, the child’s home state or area of jurisdiction can be a contentious topic. Under the UCCJEA the child’s home state is where they have been residing for the past six months, which may change over time and impact custody orders.

The Importance of Hiring a Family Law Attorney for International Co-Parenting

Even when you and your former spouses willfully collaborate to protect your child’s best interests, navigating international co-parenting can be a challenge. Working with an experienced and compassionate family law attorney can simplify the process and give you and your former partner peace of mind as you adjust to the new situation.

International co-parenting can affect:

  • Physical custody
  • Legal custody
  • Visitation rights and schedules
  • Grandparent visitation

Long-distance co-parenting may lead to filing for a modification to the current child custody and other parenting court order. For example, you may adjust visitation schedules to account for travel time, so it does not interfere with a child’s schooling while preserving allocated time with their other parent.

Even with international treaties providing a solid legal framework for international child custody, your attorney can review your situation and recommend specific options to support your family and protect your parental rights.

If you need child custody advice in Green County, call Crossman & McNamee, LLC, today at (937) 468-3796 or use our online form to schedule a consultation with one of our family law attorneys!