International parental child abduction occurs when a parent removes a child from their habitual country in violation of another parents custodial rights. The Hague Convention was created to provide children with protection against abduction across international borders. It aims to facilitate the quick return of children to the country of habitual residence.
About 100 countries recognize the Hague Convention including Australia, France, Luxembourg, Spain, the United Kingdom, and Switzerland. The U.S. officially became a member country on July 1, 1988. The Convention applies only to abductions that occurred after a country has joined the treaty. The complete list of member nations can be obtained from the website of the HCCH.
The Hague Convention does not apply to all international parental child abduction cases. In order to appeal for the return of a child under the Convention, one must be able to prove that:
When is the Removal of a Child to Another Country Considered Wrongful? The retention or removal of a child is deemed to be wrongful if:
A “Member Country” is not Obliged to Return a child in Every Case. According to The Hague Convention, a country may refuse the return of an abducted child if one of the following conditions are met:
Submission of Hague applications must be done immediately after the abduction or wrongful retention. A court may still allow the return of a child even if the child has already adjusted to his/her new environment and a one-year limit has been exceeded. However, if one allows more than a year to elapse before submitting a Hague Application, the return of a child becomes increasingly challenging. Learn more about child custody and possession on our blog.
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