International Child Abduction is a global problem touching many parents and children around the world.
These cases can take time and can be very complicated for the individuals involved.
International Child Abduction happens when:
• A child is taken from his or her home country into another country by a former spouse or partner without legal authority or without your permission; or
• A child is wrongfully retained by the parent in another country in violation of a court order.
The law governing these types of cases is the “Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction”, or known simply as “the Hague Convention”.
How International Child Abduction Works
The Hague Convention applies only to countries that are signatories to this Convention. The procedure to recover a child who has been wrongfully removed from his or her country of habitual residence or retained by the offending spouse is complex and must meet certain statutory requirements.
An example of a wrongful removal: Mom is a citizen or national of a foreign country. Dad is a citizen or national of the United States. Mom and dad may or may not have been married, but they have a court order in the United States that provides for each parent’s right of access and right of custody. To prevent Dad from having access to and possession of the child, Mom takes the child and travels to a foreign country with the intent of keeping the child from Dad. If the court order does not allow Mom to remove the child from the United States for the purpose of relocation (not on a vacation) without Dad’s explicit authority or permission, then this would be considered a wrongful removal.
An example of a wrongful retention: Mom is a U.S. citizen or national. Dad is a citizen or national of the United Kingdom. The parties have a court order from the U.S. that governs Dad’s visitation time. The child travels to the U.K. to visit Dad. During Dad’s visitation with the child, Dad decides that the child should remain in the U.K. in violation of the court order, and keeps the child beyond the time allowed by the court order. This situation would be considered a wrongful retention.
There are situations when one parent removes the child from his or her habitual country of residence and takes the child to another country that is not a signatory of the Hague Convention or is considered a dangerous area of the world. In those cases, it is imperative that the parent act quickly to recover the child.
International Child Abduction cases are labor intensive and fact intensive; there is also a short deadline to seek redress. If you are facing an abduction situation, then you should work quickly to get legal help to recover your child.
Our Texas law firm, Helene Parker & Associates, L.L.C has successfully helped our clients recover their children in international child abduction cases.
Our job is to represent you and assist you with:
• Filing a Hague Convention application with the U.S. Department of State;
• Communicate with the U.S. Department of State and foreign authorities;
• Filing a petition with a U.S. District Court or a state court to safeguard your rights and recover your child;
• Navigating the legal system to recover your child;
• Drafting the appropriate orders to protect your child.
Hague Convention or International Child Abduction cases involve the removal or retention of children by their parents. If your child has been abducted by a stranger, then you must seek immediate assistance from Federal law enforcement. However, in cases involving dispute over custody or abduction by a parent, call us at Helene Parker & Associates L.L.C. for a consultation and assistance.