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Q: I did not sign the birth certificate and my child was brought to another country (Island of Dominica).Dominica is not a signer of The Hague convention, I was told it is possible to serve the mother with NY court papers but I’m not sure she will comply in court proceedings. It has been 5 months since my child has been out the US. Will the United States still have jurisdiction over my child to bring them home so I can establish paternity and custody ? Is it possible to become a default father if she refuses to show up altogether?
A: It’s possible to serve her with papers there, but you’re best advised to get the Judge to authorize the manner of service. Additionally, the more you wait the more the Judge is going to rule that the custody/paternity case must be heard in Dominica – indeed they usually won’t let you proceed on custody until paternity’s been established. The problem there is it’s likely the paternity case will last more than a month or so – and usually 6 months is the time-frame under which the jurisdiction where the child resides is the “home state” for filing purposes. Schedule a consult with a Bronx Family Law attorney for a full assessment.