What should I do if my ex-husband, with whom I cohabited after our divorce (without remarrying) , files for custody of our child, in Israel, even though we are Israelis who have been living overseas for many years now, requested status overseas, bought a house, and our child was born there and is being educated there. We separated recently overseas,and I filed for child there. My “ex” claims that a condition in the pre-marital agreement we signed before a notary, in Israel, giving Israel exclusive jurisdiction over all proceedings between us, still applies.

Answers

If your child’s father files for custody in Israel, and the centre of all your lives , especially the child’s ,is outside Israel, then you can apply to have the Israeli proceedings thrown out at the outset, for lack of international jurisdiction, and inappropriate forum. If your child was born abroad, and has not grown up or been educated in Israel, then the court will most probably accept your claim.

It is also possible that the court itself will suggest or even recommend  that the plaintiff parent withdraw the claim, at the first preliminary court hearing, if it considers it lacks international jurisdiction. In November 2014, at a preliminary hearing, Tel Aviv Family Court recommended that the Plaintiff father withdraw custody proceedings he had filed, in custody proceedings between an Israeli couple (File 25739-07-14). Counsel for the father  agreed to withdraw the suit, and agreed that the U.S.A court had jurisdiction over child custody, after receiving the written response of  the defendant mother (represented by our law practice), who had already initiated custody proceedings in Washington,where  the child attended school. Neither party attended, but both were represented by Israeli counsel.

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