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Scarlett Johansson in custody battle over daughter

New Jersey fans of actress Scarlett Johansson may have heard that she is divorcing her husband, Romaine Dauriac. They have a 2-year-old daughter together. Their custody dispute was a private negotiation until March 7 when Johansson and her attorney filed divorce papers in New York.

By filing in New York, Johansson may have made a preemptive move that will help her get custody of the child without having to fight for it in Dauriac's home country of France. The child's place of residence is considered to be the place where the child has spent the previous six months, and Johansson may have filed as she reached the six-month mark with her daughter in New York. Dauriac could still file in France, and this would lead to what is known as a bi-national jurisdiction conflict. The residency rule would hold the key to resolving it. However, Dauriac's attorney has said that he will remain in New York if the two can share custody.

Without permission, parents cannot move with their children if it will interfere with the other parents' visitation. If the case remains in New York, the child might be examined by a mental health professional to determine how custody arrangements will affect her.

Even parents who are not celebrities may deal with issues such as a divorce in which one parent is from another country or one parent wants to move far away. In extreme cases, a parent may be concerned about an international abduction although there are steps that can be taken to reduce the likelihood of this happening. In relocation cases, parents may need to appear in court and get permission to move if it will affect custody and visitation.

Source: USA Today, "Scarlett Johansson's custody battle: What happens next?", Maria Puente, March 9, 2017

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