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Post Divorce Relocation Rights of the Custodial Parent - Part IV
A. Right to International Travel
Relocation issues treating a parent's right to travel, as discussed herein above, have been restricted thus far to interstate migrations, which is the primary focus of this paper. A less refined and seldom visited aspect of the right to travel is the extension of that prerogative beyond the political borders of the country.
The United States Supreme Court has given some credence to the international corollary to the Shapiro right to travel interstate. International child removal, however, encounters an additional consideration from an unexpected quarter -- an affected child, capable of discretion, may assert a constitutional right not to be forced from the United States. In re Gault, observes that "...neither the Fourteenth amendment nor the Bill of Rights is for adults alone."
B. Hands Across The Waters
Evidently, the qualifications of a planned move and the invocation of the best interests standard do not depend on the ultimate destination. Although some state courts are sensitive to, if not apprehensive of, latent jurisdictional conflicts concerning enforcement, visitation, modification, or general decisions regarding the general welfare of the child, the growing list of nations that have ratified the Hague Convention on International Child Abduction has reduced considerably the chance of a substantial jurisdictional dispute. One commentator even argues that there are as many international means to enforce State custody visitation decrees as exist within the United States itself.
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West Virginia is an equitable distribution state. This means that courts will come to a decision on property distribution based on what is equitable, not necessarily equal, but what is fair. The courts do not consider marital misconduct when making this decision.
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