In today’s mobile world with buses, trains, and planes we are able to reach almost anywhere in the world within a day or so, tens of thousands of children are abducted by family members each year. Most western countries have adopted a Hague treaty to address the return of the children from the parental abductor. This blog briefly covers three key points to bring a Hague case for return of a child abducted by his or her parent to the child’s state of habitual residence.
- Assuming the Hague treaty applies, the parent who is seeking the return of the child must first file an action in the state of the child’s habitual residence and/or place where the child is residing with the parent who has illicitly removed the child. The ultimate legal point is to get a “return order” to enforce in the state where the child is located to be returned to his or state of habitual residence—the place the child was wrongfully removed from for return. These cases may be brought in state or federal court in the United States.
- However, the parent who has wrongfully removed the child may be allowed legally able to remain in the United States if he or she has filed an asylum petition or has other residency of US citizenship status to avoid deportation. This does not prevent a court from issuing a return order and forcing return. Yet there are defenses that may be raised to prevent a return order from issuing. The most common and clearest under the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of Child Abduction are that the return would place the child in an intolerable situation or he/she would face grave risk of harm from the child’s perspective.
- Remedies under the Hague are only available in countries that have signed the treaty and where it has been ratified. In countries where the parties are not signatories to the Hague, there is some use of the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Act. These are complex cases and require careful coordination by attorneys for either parent, translators (in many cases), courts.
Ciyou & Dixon, P.C. attorneys handles parental abduction cases throughout Indiana. We hope this blog is useful in providing background information. This is not intended as a solicitation for legal services nor legal advice. It is advertising material.