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International Child Custody Issues: The Hague Convention

International Child Custody Issues: The Hague ConventionIn cases where a child is removed from one country where he or she resided in and brought to another country, what can a parent do? Many countries are signatories to the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of Child Abduction (hereinafter referred to as the “Hague Convention”). The Hague Convention is a multilateral treaty. It has been ratified by 98 countries. It provides a protocol for the return of a child unilaterally removed by a parent from one member country to another.

Article 3 of the Convention requires signatory countries to return children to the country of their habitual residence when they are wrongfully removed or retained in another country in breach of the custody rights of the left behind parent. The law of the state or country from which the child was removed determines custody rights; this adds some fluidity as in some countries an unmarried father may have rights upon the birth of a child, while other countries require a declaratory order to bestow custody rights.

Country of Habitual Residence

Custody rights are usually determines by the law of the country from which a child is removed. This can be complicated by the fact that fathers who have children out of marriage may be faced with the issue that some countries do not recognize custodial parental rights to unmarried fathers.

The Hague Convention is considered a treaty the United States is a party to which can be enforced by bringing a proceeding in a United States Court. There is an expedited procedure to do this.

schlissel-headshotElliot S. Schlissel, Esq. represents parents in child custody cases. He’s been representing parents with regard to domestic and international custody cases for more than 35 years. He can be reached for a free consultation at 800-344-6431 or e-mailed at Elliot@sdnylaw.com.

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