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Melissa A. Featherston

Missouri child custody: Dual citizenship and divorce

Missouri residents going through a divorce with a spouse who has dual citizenship may be wary of the possibility of losing child custody. Horror stories have occasionally been reported in the media concerning parents taking children outside of this country and overseas, sometimes resulting in an expensive and lengthy custody battle for the parents left here. A situation like this may warrant the need for a knowledgeable team prepared for a child custody fight, especially if there is any chance the other parent may flee.

Technology and the ease of travel have led to more couples from other countries meeting and tying the knot, and subsequently going through a divorce. While the vast majority of these parents are able to come to an equitable resolution for their situation and their children, some choose to take extreme measures in order to maintain child custody. This can be a tense situation for both parties, but especially for the parent here in this country. When custody battles erupt in two different countries, it may not always end happily for the American.

On the other hand, if a resident moves outside of the country and undergoes a divorce in the place they are living in, it could also be difficult. Countries have different laws governing alimony, child support and child custody. In some cases, those laws do not look favorably on one party, potentially thrusting them in a situation where they could be much worse off. It is important when considering marriage to a dual citizenship spouse to familiarize oneself with the laws governing divorce or child custody in the country before deciding to move.

Missouri parents still living in the state and undergoing a divorce with a spouse who still has citizenship in another country may want to strongly consider organizing a team of knowledgeable parties, specifically those who have experience in dealing with delicate child custody matters. Preparing in advance for any outcome may be the best defense against a battle that could be taken overseas. When there are international elements involved in a separation, being informed and aware of the possibilities is a critical step to gain a successful end.

Source: Forbes, "Small World, Big Problem: Divorces Involving Dual Citizenship," Jeff Landers, Jan. 10, 2013

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