A Review of the Year in Family Law: Looking at Interjurisdictional Recognition

Posted: 31 Jul 2017

See all articles by Linda D. Henry Elrod

Linda D. Henry Elrod

Washburn University - School of Law

Robert G. Spector

University of Oklahoma - College of Law

Date Written: July 26, 2017


Family law issues dominated the headlines during the 2008-2009 reporting year. While there were the usual celebrity break ups, hook ups, and blow ups, other issues arose as to the validity of marriages, adoptions, and questions of parenthood as more states (and countries) recognized same-sex marriage, civil unions or domestic partnerships and allowed same-sex couples to adopt children.

International recognition of treaty obligations also garnered headlines. The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction is in force in over eighty countries, including Brazil and the United States. The 1993 Hague Convention on the Protection of Children and Cooperation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption became effective April 1, 2008. The 2007 Hague Convention on International Enforcement of Child Support and Other Forms of Family Maintenance has passed the Senate Judiciary Committee and is on its way for a vote in 2010. In preparation, the Uniform Law Commission adopted amendments to the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act to use in international enforcement. The United States Department of State would like to consider moving to implement the 1996 Hague Convention on Jurisdiction, Applicable Law, Recognition, Enforcement and Co-operation in Respect of Parental Responsibility and Measures for the Protection of Children. The problem is that this treaty conflicts with the continuing jurisdiction provisions of the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act. The Uniform Law Commission will need to review the UCCJEA to see if it could be amended for international cases in a way similar to UIFSA.

The future is likely to see more conflict of law issues as courts must determine the state's public policy and the validity of marriages, adoptions, and divorces from other jurisdictions. Because five states (and several countries) now recognize same-sex marriage, those persons are "presumed" parents of children born or adopted in the relationship. Challenges are likely when one of the presumed parents is deemed a stranger in a state not recognizing same-sex marriage.

Note: ©2010 by the American Bar Association. Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved. This information or any or portion thereof may not be copied or disseminated in any form or by any means or stored in an electronic database or retrieval system without the express written consent of the American Bar Association.

Suggested Citation

Elrod, Linda D. Henry and Spector, Robert G., A Review of the Year in Family Law: Looking at Interjurisdictional Recognition (July 26, 2017). Family Law Quarterly, Vol. 43, No. 4, 2010, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3009476

Linda D. Henry Elrod (Contact Author)

Washburn University - School of Law ( email )

1700 College Avenue
Topeka, KS 66621
United States
(785) 231-1010 x1838 (Phone)
(785) 231-1037 (Fax)

Robert G. Spector

University of Oklahoma - College of Law ( email )

300 Timberdell Road
Norman, OK 73019
United States

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