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How does the Hague Convention help parents?

Imagine you were married to a foreign national and had a baby with this person. Later, you go through a lengthy divorce and agree to shared custody so that your child lives half the time with you and half the time with your ex. However, you ex-spouse broke the guidelines, returned to his or her home country and now is refusing to bring your child back to the United States.

Before the creation of the Hague Convention, a parent in this situation would have had a lot of legal red tape to jump through, and the likelihood of getting the child returned would be slim. This is still the case when it comes to nonHague member countries. However, if the country where the child is located ratified the Hague Convention, then it could be easier to get the child returned.

The Hague Convention serves to preserve the child custody arrangement in place prior to the abduction of the child to the foreign country. The convention applies if the following conditions are present:

  • The child is below 16 years of age.
  • The child habitually lived in the United States prior to the abduction.
  • The Hague Convention was in effect in both countries at the time the abduction occurred.
  • The parent in the United States had custody rights when the abduction happened.

The Hague Convention streamlines the process of getting one's child back after an international abduction. However, it isn't a guaranteed process. Parents need to take their legal cases seriously and plan them carefully whenever they are utilizing the Hague Convention. As with all child custody matters, these cases require delicacy, tact and diplomacy to resolve.

Source: Findlaw, "What is the Hague Convention?," accessed March 15, 2018

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