The Supreme Court is in the midst of a major international battle regarding children. The decision will affect similar child custody issues in New Jersey, elsewhere in the nation and, indeed, globally. The fight includes a young child, her Italian father, American mother and the international Hague Convention, which speaks to international child custody disputes.

The couple met and married in the United States in 2011 and moved to Italy two years later where the relationship became problematic. The woman became pregnant in 2014 and amid physical and sexual abuse allegations, returned to the States with the baby in 2015. But under the Hague Convention, the habitual residence of the child is a determining factor when deciding on child custody issues. In 2016, a U.S. District Court in the States decided the child’s habitual residence was Italy and ordered her to be returned.

Ultimately, the Supreme Court of the United States agreed to hear an appeal. In America, family courts use the best interests of a child as a major marker in deciding child custody. However, in this case Supreme Court justices must first consider the Hague Convention’s habitual residence stipulations. In any event, the court’s decision is likely to affect many parents and children around the world.

Child custody issues are among the most contentious in family law. New Jersey residents who have questions regarding this often complex and confusing aspect of family law might find it helpful to get the advice and guidance of an experienced attorney. Having some knowledge of the law may help a client to understand the delicate nature of those issues involving children.