Helping Reunite Parents and Children
Few things can be more devastating than learning that your child has been abducted by a parent or other family member. Typically, you will not know what to do or who to turn to for help and unfortunately law enforcement agencies are so unfamiliar with state and federal laws that they do not consider it a crime.
Our Orlando child abduction lawyers at The Marin Law Firm, P.A. can help parents recover children from other states and countries around the world. We understand that this is a difficult time for you and your family, and we provide compassionate, attentive legal services to help minimize your anxiety. If your child has been taken across state lines or out of the country, you can count on our team to relentlessly pursue your child’s return.
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Interstate Child Abductions in Florida
There are laws in place to prevent interstate abduction by parents and to prevent the parent from delaying the return of the child. The Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA) limits the jurisdiction of custody matters to one state and provides for expedited enforcement and pick-up orders of the child to return to the home state. It also establishes uniform criteria for determining jurisdiction. The UCCJEA requires the state to decline jurisdiction where the abducting parent has taken the child.
The Parental Kidnapping Prevention Act (PKPA) provides the federal enforcement mechanism to ensure that states honor the custody and interstate relocation decisions of other states. Although rarely used in litigation, the PKPA requires courts to enforce, rather than to modify, the custody and visitation orders of other states. Once a state exercises jurisdiction, no other state may exercise concurrent jurisdiction.
If there is a child abduction in Florida that is in violation of Section 61.13001 Florida Statutes, then you must file a motion with the court explaining what the other person has failed to do.
International Child Abduction & Hague Laws
Globalization and cross-cultural or international marriages are on the rise. When these marriages end in divorce, international relocation and abduction by the noncustodial parent suddenly becomes a real possibility. Many international child abductions are governed by The Hague Convention, which was adopted to protect children internationally from the harmful effects of their wrongful removal or retention, to establish procedures to ensure their prompt return to their habitual residence and to secure protection of parental rights to access the child.
The Marin Law Firm, P.A. most recently has secured the rights of a parent who was served a Petition For Return of Child to Petitioner who resided in Australia.
If you are experiencing a child abduction, whether it is an international child abduction or an abduction in Florida, our Orlando international child abduction attorneys are ready to help you fight to get your child back.
What Is the Hague Abduction Convention?
The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, or the Hague Abduction Convention, is a treaty signed by many countries throughout the world to protect children from the harmful effects of international abduction by a parent. This child-focused treaty provides the framework for rapid location and return of children who were wrongfully abducted by a parent or relative.
In order for the Hague Convention process to be successful, you must be able to demonstrate:
- That your child habitually resided in a Convention country
- The removal of your child from their country of habitual residence was wrongful
- The Convention is in force between the country of habitual residence and the country where your child is located
- The child is under the age of 16
The “Return of the Child” Process
In the Hague Application, there must be clear instructions outlined for “the return of the child.” Failing to provide a clear plan can result in a failed process.
There are usually three options for the return of the child to the State where they habitually resided prior to abduction. These include:
- Ordering the abducting parent to return the child
- Ordering the child to be handed over to the parent invoking the Hague Convention
- Ordering the child to be collected by an enforcement officer
The process encourages the prompt return of children to their home countries to ensure that visitation and custody matters are handled by a local court in the child’s country of “habitual residence.” The country of habitual residence is where the child habitually resided prior to their wrongful removal. It should be noted that this is not necessarily the same as the country where the child was born.
What Countries Are Part of the Hague Convention?
Each section and installment of the Hague Convention has been entered into force by a different selection of countries, which is why any published list of countries that are part of the Hague Convention could be considered misleading. However, as of 2022, there are 101 Contracting Parties to the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, including the United States of America. The complete list of Contracting Parties can be found here. Note that not all of the Contracting Parties are also members of the HCCH, the intergovernmental organization known as the Hague Conference on Private International Law.
How Can Hague Law Help My Case?
If your child was wrongfully abducted and taken to another country, you should seek legal assistance immediately. With the help of a seasoned international child abduction lawyer in Orlando, you can more quickly file a Hague Application and invoke the Hague Convention. Hague Convention cases are often dealt with very within a matter of which, which makes skilled legal assistance critical. You want to hire a lawyer who can coordinate with the Hague counsel in the country where your child is currently located to fight for their prompt, safe return.
At The Marin Law Firm, P.A., our team is prepared to assist you through the application process. We are familiar with the application and are here to help you complete your application correctly and in a timely manner.
To learn more on International custody disputes, read our blog, How to Win an International Custody Dispute.
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