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Publication Title

Journal of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers

Publication Date



Even fifty years ago, the United States was a superpower and Americans traveled for pleasure and worked abroad. Then, like now, the United States was a magnet for immigrants seeking freedom, or asylum, or opportunity. Then, like now, human relationships crossed geographical and political boundaries, challenging the limits of family law.

But globalization and the vast migrations of capital and labor that have accompanied it in recent decades have transformed family law in once unimaginable ways. Families have been torn apart and new families have been created. Borders have become more porous, allowing adoptees and mail order brides to join new families and women fleeing domestic violence to escape from old ones. People of different nationalities marry, have children, and divorce, not necessarily in that order. They file suits in their respective home nation states or third states, demanding support, custody, and property. Otherwise law-abiding parents risk jail in desperate efforts to abduct their own children from foreign ex-spouses.

The practice of family law has become internationalized. American lawyers must be prepared to help clients whose families, and family law problems, extend beyond national boundaries. This article describes some of the major international developments in child abduction, marriage recognition, immigration, asylum, divorce, maintenance, and adoption that they need to know.

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Family Law Commons



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