In what is set to be a long, drawn-out child custody battle, an international dispute between two American parents and their American children living in two different parts of the world was set to commence earlier this month. Though everyone in the situation is an American, the mother is arguing that either Hungarian or Romanian child custody laws apply, but the father says American law should apply. This first of many trials will merely determine which country’s law the court must use to award custody.

With a large international population, this is a situation that could easily happen in Atlanta. There are many couples in which either the mother, father or both are not American citizens, which could potentially complicate a child custody dispute following a divorce. In addition, if one parent moves to another country, how custody will be determined requires a careful analysis.

The 13-year-old twin boys were born in the United States, but have spent much of their lives in Hungary. They primarily speak English at home and, at least according to their father, feel very comfortable in the United States. While the boys were visiting their grandparents in the U.S., their parents moved from Hungary to Romania. When their father went to bring them back to Europe, he stayed and filed for divorce, asking for primary custody of his sons.

This is an extremely complex matter and is one that would be extremely foolish to take on without the help of an experienced child custody attorney. Figuring out the Georgia child custody laws are difficult enough, much less trying to argue under Hungarian or Romanian law.

Source: The Associated Press, “International child custody trial begins in Nashville,” Sheila Burke, May 22, 2013