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Interstate and International Child Issues

In our transient world, parents and children often move from state to state, or even to other countries.  Child custody disputes, including cases where one parent kidnaps a child, are much more complicated when the case crosses a state or international border.  The Pederson Law Office has experience in interstate and international child custody cases, and the laws and treaties which apply to them.


Most states, including Texas, have adopted the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA).  The UCCJEA is a uniform state law that determines which state’s courts have jurisdiction to make and modify child custody determinations.  The UCCJEA requires that state courts enforce child custody and visitation orders rendered by other states and, in many cases, other countries.  The main provisions of the UCCJEA are:

  • Priority is given to home state in original child custody cases (where child has lived for the past six months).

  • Preserves exclusive, continuing jurisdiction in the state that has made a child custody determination.

  • Authorizes courts to exercise emergency jurisdiction, usually in cases involving domestic violence.

  • Directs courts to decline jurisdiction created by unjustifiable conduct, such as child snatching.

  • Provides procedures for enforcement of interstate child custody and visitation determination.

  • Creates a registration process for interstate child custody determinations.

  • Authorizes issuance of warrants to protect children at risk of being removed from the state.

The UCCJEA assures that a single court will have jurisdiction over custody proceedings, even if the child has been abducted by a parent or guardian.

Hague Convention

International child custody cases often involve a treaty called The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, which creates a mechanism for the quick recovery of a child wrongly taken to another county.  Numerous nations have ratified this treaty (a list of such countries can be found at this LINK), and many other nations have entered into specific agreements with the United States concerning the return of children under this treaty.  Most countries from the Middle East and South America have not ratified this treaty, nor have Japan, India, mainland China, or the Philippines. 

An application for return of a child under the Hague Convention may be made when a child is taken or retained across an international border, away from his or her habitual residence, without the consent of a parent who has rights of custody, if the two countries are parties to the Convention.  The child must be promptly returned to the habitual residence unless the return will create a grave risk of harm to the child.


The Pederson Law Office can represent parents from other countries if their child is taken to Texas in violation of the
custody rights of the custodial parent.  An emergency lawsuit for the return of the child under the Hague Convention can be filed in either state or federal court.


Contact Pederson Law Office regarding any child custody, visitation, or support issues involving interstate or international issues.


1919 San Pedro Ave.

San Antonio, TX 78212​
Email:​Phone:  210-361-1048

Thank you for contacting us!

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