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The Divorce Encyclopedia
Foreign Order

Term Definition Foreign Order - a court order issued by another county, state, or nation, outside of the jurisdiction in which the custodial parent resides.
Application in Divorce Foreign orders come from what are called foreign jurisdictions, which means another county, a sister state in the United States or a foreign country than the one where the custodial parent resides.

The term foreign order also applies to divorces in alien states, but it is more commonly used in connection with court actions associated with the recovery of children removed to these places and their custody.

Generally, court orders issued by county courts are respected within the state. Court orders applying to persons in another state become more complicated, but generally some relief is possible.

Court orders involving children removed from the United State are without a doubt the most problematic. Orders from American courts are not automatically recognized abroad and therefore are not directly enforceable there. Each country has jurisdiction within its own territory and over people present within its borders. No country can tell another country how to decide cases or enforce laws. Just as foreign court orders are not automatically enforceable in the United States, United States court orders are not automatically enforceable abroad.

See also ICARA; Parental Kidnapping; PKPA; Hague Convention.

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