In the best of circumstances, determining child custody is a complex issue that can cause heated emotional debates and complicated legal disputes. When one parent faces deportation, however, it adds several layers of challenge that the parents were not expecting.
Numerous scenarios exist where one parent is a United States citizen, and the other parent faces removal proceedings. Unfortunately, this situation is frustrating for the parents and confusing for the children.
How might this happen?
While every situation is unique, there are several instances where citizenship and child custody could overlap, including:
- Issues with complicated citizenship: It is not uncommon for individuals to meet and begin a romantic relationship while in a foreign country. If one person is in the U.S. on a visa, however, it could lead to significant complications. If the visa expires or an extension runs out, the mother or father might be removed from the country, causing the other parent to fight to retain any level of legal custody or visitation.
- Issues arising from deportation: While unfortunate, it is not uncommon for a couple to choose to end their marriage. Whether based on infidelity or simply irreconcilable differences, the marriage dissolves. After this, the permanent resident status of one individual could change and lead to deportation. In these situations, the judge must carefully consider what is in the best interest of the children before making a decision regarding custody.
What is the best interest doctrine?
When facing issues of child custody, the court will always examine factors that influence the health, safety and growth of the children. They will take the path of determining which decision is in the best interests of the children involved. When the case involves deportation, the court’s decisions must include numerous factors such as the safety of the children in either of the countries involved and the potential for any level of significant visitation.
Parents face complex issues regarding child custody when the relationship reaches an end. When the country of residence is a factor, the decisions take on a dramatic tone that can color the child’s future growth and development.