Children Issues

General Family Law

Getting Child Custody When Living Abroad

Providing Attorney Representation in Seattle, WA since 1991

Being in a divorce is hard enough for most people. Now, suppose you have children involved. When you do, it can make things even more challenging.

That said it is important to have a top-notch family law attorney by your side when in such a situation.

He or she can help you navigate the challenges you may well face in getting custody of your children when you are in the greater Seattle area but looking to live abroad.

So, are you prepared to make that call for legal help today?

Let One of Seattles Best Attorneys Guide You
In working with a divorce lawyer in Seattle as you seek to have custody of your children when not in the U.S., remember these key items:

  • Best interests of the children – The court will look to see what is in the best interests of the children when assigning custody. For example, you currently live outside the U.S. or plan to and your soon-to-be ex lives here. Although the child or children may have been born in the U.S. and reside there now, your spouse can’t take care of them on their own. As such, you could end up with custody of the children and take them abroad. This could be because you are better able to provide for them. In the event you do want to move abroad with the children, you will need to petition the court for its approval. Taking the children without such approval could end up with you facing kidnapping charges (see below).

  • Parental consent – To avoid potential legal and emotional issues, your best bet is to have the consent of the other parent to move the children overseas. Even though your divorce may be rather emotionally charged, sit down if at all possible with your child’s other parent and discuss the matter in a calm and rational manner. Explain to them why you feel it is best for the children to relocate out of the country with you. Such reasons can include a better standard of life in terms of finances, education, healthcare and more. You may be able to work out a deal with the child’s father or mother where they are allowed to visit the children in your country. You might also have the children come to the U.S. to visit their other parent on occasion.

  • Avoiding run-ins with the law – Last, make sure before you take your children with you overseas that everything you and your partner agreed to is in writing and on file with the courts. The last thing you need is to be possibly facing kidnapping charges. Make sure your legal counsel understands legislation involving international child custody as it pertains to parental kidnappings. In the event you are granted custody of your children and they are permitted to go out of the country to live with you, be sure you pay any money required by the courts to your soon-to-be ex. This can include alimony among other things. You do not want to have your wages and other assets garnished to the point where you can’t take care of your children.

By working with an experienced family lawyer who knows their way around both U.S. and international child custody laws, you will be in a better position to have your children with you outside the U.S.


  • Contact Seattle Divorce Lawyer V. Freitas