International Family Law


Family law issues in California and across the U.S., such as divorce and child custody, can be extremely complex depending on the circumstances of the individuals involved. When these matters extend beyond international boundaries, they can become even more complicated. These cases can involve couples married in foreign countries, foreign-born citizens married here, and children who are part of international custody disputes. These matters require a working knowledge of international family law that will impact their resolution. 

At Nachlis | Cohade | Lopez-Whitaker, LLP, our team is experienced and well-versed in the laws pertaining to such complicated matters. California is a state that is home to many individuals born abroad, as well as Californians who have traveled, married, and had children in foreign countries. This has led to our firm taking on many complicated international divorce and child custody cases. Our experience in these matters, as well as our depth of understanding and available resources, can be put to use on your behalf in any international family law issue. 

Handling International Family Law Cases in San Francisco County, Alameda County, San Mateo County, Contra Costa County, Marin County, Santa Clara County, & Beyond

International divorce and family law cases can involve the following issues:

  • The division of international assets and debts in divorce
  • Child support and spousal support across countries
  • Child custody disputes

Examples of child custody disputes can include a parent removing a child from the country without the consent of the other parent, a parent taking a child to another country with the consent of the other parent but failing to return, or custody disputes subject to the laws of foreign nations. 

Two international laws that have been established to resolve child custody issues include the Hague Convention and the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Act (UCCJA). The Hague Convention is an international treaty among more than 100 countries. It provides a legal process in which a child can be returned to their home country if wrongfully removed to another country. However, it only applies to nations that have signed on to it. 

The Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Act governs child custody matters that involve more than one state or country with potential authority to decide these issues. It is used when questions of jurisdiction are raised in a custody proceeding. Proper jurisdiction must be established before temporary or permanent custody and visitation orders can be issued that have actual weight and authority. 

Under the UCCJA, custody decisions made under the actual jurisdictional power of foreign courts will be honored in California courts unless they violate human rights. In these cases, the court that originally established custody rights generally has continuing authority in international custody proceedings. 

In any family law matter involving different counties, disputes can become complicated, requiring the services of a law firm that is familiar and experienced with applicable international laws. Our international family law lawyers fulfill this requirement and are committed to helping you reach a favorable result that protects your parental rights while serving your child’s best interests. 

Connect with Nachlis | Cohade | Lopez-Whitaker, LLP to set up a confidential consultation about your international family law issue at (415) 855-9344 or via our online contact form.