Not all divorced couples with children are able to maintain an amicable co-parenting relationship. It can be especially complicated if your co-parent is of foreign nationality and wants to return to his or her home country with your children. While doing so is possible, he or she would have to first file a petition in court. Unfortunately, some parents assume that their American divorce orders will no longer apply in their home country, and sometimes parents try to take their children abroad against the other parent's rights and wishes.
If your co-parent has taken your child abroad against your wishes and without the court's approval, you have the legal right to pursue your child's return to the United States. You may turn to the terms of The Hague Abduction Convention to learn more about your international parental rights.
Understanding your international parental rights
The Hague Abduction Convention is an international treaty that was established to protect parental custody rights around the world, as well as to ensure the safe return of internationally abducted children to their rightful residence. According to these terms, your co-parent may have unknowingly committed international child abduction by taking your child abroad against your will.
As stressful as it may be for you to think about how your child is doing, it is important to know your options for bringing him or her back safely. The Hague Convention partners nearly every country around the world, and you may file a Hague application to begin the process of getting your child back if he or she was abducted to one of these countries. You may also reach out to the U.S. Department of State for more information on what steps you can take, no matter which country your child was taken to. You can also consider reaching out to an experienced lawyer to learn more about your options.
You deserve to be reunited with your child
Whether your co-parent was aware of the terms of the Hague Convention or not, he or she may have still violated the law by taking your child abroad against your will. You deserve to be aware of your child's whereabouts no matter where in the world your family may be.