International abduction and the Hague Abduction Convention

Child custody arrangements can vary greatly case-by-case. In some instances, parents share time equally with their children, while other families see a custodial parent who significantly restricts a noncustodial parent's access. In today's highly mobile society, it isn't uncommon for custodial parents to seek to relocate with their children, which may not be inline with an established custody plan. Although these parents may be able to get court authorization for one of these moves, sometimes parents take their children across state lines or across international borders with the intent of disrupting a child custody arrangement. When this happens, abduction has occurred.

Nothing is scarier than not know where your child is, except perhaps knowing where he or she is and disapproving of that location. Yet, far too often Florida parents find themselves uncertain what to do when they find out that their child's other parent has taken their kid to another country. This is why they need to understand the law, which in the case of international abduction, primarily focuses on Hague Abduction Convention.

This convention is essentially an agreement among many nations to cooperate in the resolution of cases involving international abduction. Each member country is required to establish a central authority, which can help locate abducted children, facilitate their safe return home, and achieve other amicable resolutions. In order to acquire a member country's assistance, though, a parent must show that the taking wrongfully interfered with custodial rights.

This is a simplification of how these international abduction cases may resolve. In fact, as we'll discuss in a future post, there are many defenses to allegations of a wrongfully taking under the Hague Convention. Dealing with abduction is frightening, and many parents are unable to think through the legal challenges they face when all they want is their child's safe return. This is why experienced family law attorneys stand ready to aggressively pursue favorable resolution under state, federal, and international law.

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