This site tracks developments in international family law from Richard Crouch and John Crouch of Crouch & Crouch in Arlington, Virginia. Our international practice has grown naturally from our location in our native Arlington, where our clients include many military, diplomatic and immigrant families, international organization employees, IT professionals, etc. This blog's purpose is to comment on the ongoing development of the law, and help other lawyers, journalists and the public understand individual cases. These postings do not provide a comprehensive description of the law. In fact, they will surely contain statements that were true at the time but have become less valid as the law continues to develop.
"A presumption that the involvement of both parents in a child’s life will further that child’s welfare, unless the contrary is shown" is included in the government's new Children and Families Bill. The bill also makes it easier to move children from foster care to adoption, removes ethnic-religious adoption restrictions, and lets foster parents become the child's adoptive parents. It also regulates and restricts expert witnesses in child-related cases, and seeks to clarify when mediation is required before filing a child custody case.
It repeals divorce law provisions that let a court delay the granting of a divorce, or give only a non-absolute divorce, to accommodate the needs of a child under 16.
The Bill would also finally repeal nearly all of the landmark Family Law Act 1996, which was never implemented. The 1996 Act reduced waiting periods for no-fault divorce but also eliminated "quickie" divorce on fault grounds, replacing both with a single one-year period for reflection and consideration, during which courts would provide information sessions and mediation. It also provided for indefinitely blocking a divorce that "would result in substantial financial or other hardship" for a spouse or a child. One of the few divorce reforms in history that was a product of thorough, educated debate in which scores of legislators studied deeply and understood the magnitude of their choices, it was a model for other countries' reforms, including the U.S.'s Second Chances Act and Parental Divorce Reduction Act.
"The Evangelical Adoption Crusade" is a very detailed article from The Nation (5/9/11). I probably haven't read The Nation in almost 20 years so I don't know how accurate or objective it is, but anyone who takes parental rights seriously -- as most evangelicals and anyone else in a politically "suspect class" must -- should always be concerned about the possibility of movements to help children sometimes erupting into frenzies and forgetting that some children already have parents.
Forwarded by Rockville, Md. international family lawyer Melissa Kucinski --
U.S. on Track to Join the Hague Adoption Convention in December
A message from the U.S. Department of State
The U.S. Department of State, Office of Childrens Issues, is pleased to announce that the President signed the Hague Adoption Convention on November 16. The legal requirements for ratification of the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption (Hague Adoption Convention) have been completed, and we plan to deposit the instrument of ratification on December 12, 2007! The Department will announce the official U.S. effective date˜projected to be April 1, 2008˜in the Federal Register. The Hague Adoption Convention protects children and their families against the risks of unregulated adoptions abroad and ensures that intercountry adoptions are made in the best interests of children. The Convention also serves to prevent the abduction of, sale of, or traffic in children.
Once the treaty is in force, the new processing requirements for Hague adoption cases will take effect for adoptions between the United States and more than 70 Convention members. The new process protects the rights of children, birth parents, and adoptive parents while promoting transparency, accountability, and ethical practices among adoption service providers.
This is a big step in implementing the new Hague Adoption Convention in the U.S.: --- USCIS News Release
October 4, 2007
USCIS ISSUES INTERIM RULE ESTABLISHING NEW PROCEDURES FOR ADOPTED CHILDREN UNDER THE HAGUE CONVENTION
WASHINGTON -- U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) today
announced the publication of an interim rule in the Federal Register to
establish new administrative procedures for the immigration of children
who are adopted by U.S. citizens and who come from countries that are
parties to the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and
Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption.