Tonight’s post on International Family Law Cases in Atlanta was written by our newest attorney, Dina Khismatulina. She is licensed to practice in both Georgia (as in US) and in Russia.
After the 1996 Olympics, there is no doubt that Atlanta claimed its place in the international arena. Home to Coca-Cola, Delta Airlines, AT&T, UPS, Home Depot, Turner Broadcasting and other international conglomerates, as well as to a number of large post-secondary institutions including Georgia Institute of Technology and Georgia State University, Atlanta attracts people from all over the world. A booming entertainment business and the world’s busiest airport also play important roles in bringing multi-cultural crowds to Atlanta.
It is not surprising that Atlanta is now the city with the second fastest-growing foreign-born population in the United States. Indeed, Atlanta’s international community grew by 70 percent in the last decade alone. According to United Census Bureau, about 1 in 4 children under 18 in families in the U.S. have at least one foreign-born parent. This statistic is mind blowing, and the number is likely even higher for Atlanta. As a result, children/parents with dual citizenship, parents who share custody while living in different countries, and international child abductions by one of the parents are no longer novelties.
We at The Manely Firm, P.C. can definitely attest to the fact that today a firm knowledge of International Law is almost a mandatory skill for an attorney practicing Family Law in Atlanta. As Family Law attorneys, we are still facing familiar issues, such as enforcement of child support, modification of custody, division of marital property, etc. However, the international component brings our practice to a whole new level. Division of marital property located in Ghana, enforcement of child support for a client in Estonia, domestication of foreign judgments from Korea, International Child Abduction under the Hague Convention: these are but a few of the types of cases we now work on every single day.
Because of the complexity of international cases, it is important to be represented by an experienced attorney well versed in international family law when your case involves international issues. If your attorney does not deal with international family law cases on a daily basis, he or she may need to do extensive research, which gets quite expensive for you as the client.
Procedurally, there are many additional rules for cases with international components; for example, when a deposition is taken to be used in a foreign jurisdiction or when expert reports originate from a foreign country. We try to save our client’s money in a number of ways like petitioning for appearance for court hearings via video conference, using tried and true experts, etc.
One of the most surprising things about working on international cases is that sometimes our clients are not even aware that they have a case at all. For example, we represented a client who, for years, gave up on trying to enforce a child support order just because she was not aware of the possibility of enforcing child support after her husband moved abroad. Not only was he surprised, but she was, too!
The best advice I can give you when you are faced with an International Family Law case, is to make sure that you know all of your options and you are represented by an experienced attorney who deals with international family law cases every day.
Good luck and Merry Christmas!