Child Custody & International Child Abduction

Posted By Mark Baer, ESQ. || 11-Mar-2013

The United States welcomes people from all over the world with open arms. There are a tremendous number of families in the United States where one or both parents are immigrants, lawful permanent citizens, or citizens enjoying dual-citizenship both in the United States and their nation of origin.

Divorce is a fact of life, and in the United States, nearly half of all marriages end in divorce. Considering the large number of immigrants in this great country, it's safe to assume that a percentage of divorcing couples will involve at least one parent who has deep roots and family ties to another country such as Mexico, England, Australia, China, Vietnam, or Japan. In cases where one parent is from another country, that parent may want to return to their nation of origin and bring their child with them. However, a parent cannot just leave the United States with their child when they get a divorce, leaving the other parent behind in America.

Hague Convention and International Child Abduction

The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction is a treaty developed by the Hague Conference on Private International Law; it provides for the expedient return of a child who has been abducted by one parent from one member nation to another member nation. The Hague Convention was drafted with the purpose of ensuring that children were promptly returned when they were abducted from their country of "habitual residence" or wrongfully retained in a country that was not their habitual residence (as if while on vacation).

As of December of 2012, there were 89 countries that were parties to the convention, and on March 1st of 2013, South Korea became a member state of the treaty. Some of the signers or member states of the Hague Convention include: Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Belgium, Canada, Colombia, Denmark, El Salvador, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Israel, Italy, New Zealand, Switzerland, South Africa, United States and the United Kingdom.

The primary purpose of the Hague Convention is to preserve the child custody arrangement that existed immediately before the parent allegedly wrongfully removed the child from their country of "habitual residence." The Hague Convention only applies to child custody matters involving children below the age of 16.

Pasadena Child Custody Lawyer

In the greater Los Angeles area, there are thousands of families where one or both parents are from another country. Whether you are here on a visa, a lawful permanent resident or a U.S. citizen getting a divorce, either you or your spouse may want to return to your home country with your child. In either case, child custody is a major issue, particularly if the country in question is not a member of the Hague Convention.

Categories: Child Custody, Divorce