International Custody & Child Abduction

Serving Families Throughout Palm Beach Gardens

Child abduction, whether across state lines or international boundaries, is a tragedy for those involved. John F. Schutz, P.L. has assisted many families in these situations, aggressively pursuing the safe return of a child or defending parents opposed to the return of a child to a foreign jurisdiction. Complete understanding of Florida and international custody laws is what we bring to the table – and the courtroom.

Mr. Schutz is an expert in international child custody disputes and has worked with the Central Authority of the United States of America under the International Child Abduction Remedies Act (ICARA). He is also a Fellow of the International Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (IAML), a worldwide association of practicing lawyers recognized by their peers as the most experienced and expert family law specialists in their respective countries.

Mr. Schutz has represented clients in international family law cases involving Sweden, France, Jamaica, Dubai, Italy, Canada, Brazil, Argentina, Bermuda, Germany, Mexico, Iran, Sierra Leone, Dominican Republic, India and other countries.

In-Depth Knowledge of International Family Law

John F. Schutz, P.L. can help families with international custody disputes and child abduction issues involving the following law and treaties:

The Hague Convention. This is an international treaty available to parents seeking the return of, or access to, their child. As an international treaty, the parents, not the governments, are parties to the legal action. Countries adopting the treaty agree that a child held on their soil in violation of a parent’s custodial rights shall be promptly returned to the child’s country of habitual residence. The United States has adopted the treaty and enforces it through the International Child Abduction Remedies Act (ICARA).

Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA). This is an act that attempts to address the problems of child litigation between states. The act emphasizes ways to deal with the two great injustices under existing laws: 1) that the person in possession of the child has the tactical advantage of keeping or obtaining custody regardless of the best interest, and 2) that to obtain that advantage, people will take possession of the child either through guile or ruthlessness. The UCCJEA was created to dissuade child snatchers.

Parental Kidnapping Prevention Act (PKPA). Between 25,000 and 100,000 children are victims of interstate child kidnapping or custodial interference each year. The PKPA establishes national standards for the assertion of child custody jurisdiction within the United States, by defining whether Florida or another state has jurisdiction to award custody or visitation rights.  The PKPA does not criminalize “interference with custody” (the State of Florida’s term for Parental Kidnapping) but does teach us what state has jurisdiction to decide and enforce custody and visitation.

John F. Schutz, P.L. is intimately familiar with the rules, guidelines, laws, and treaties related to international and interstate custody disputes. If you find yourself in need of legal assistance in this area, we are fully prepared to represent your case vigorously.

Our 24-hour voice mail service ((561) 677-2462) will receive your call at any time, or you may contact us via the Internet. To dial direct, first enter the international access code (00 from Europe), then the country code of the U.S. (1), then the area code and the seven-digit number. Example:  00-(561) 677-2462.

Child Support


Child Custody & Visitation

Collaborative Law


Prenuptial & Postnuptial Agreements

Division of Marital Property & Debt



Spousal Support

International Custody Disputes & Child Abduction

Child Relocation

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