International Child Abduction

Loss of a child to abduction is a serious matter. What can make a frightening situation even more terrifying is when your child has been taken, not a few hours away to the next state, but to another country entirely. This is an extremely serious situation where the advice and guidance of an experienced family law attorney can be critical. Family law attorneys here in the Piedmont Triad, such as those at Woodruff Family Law Group, can help you through this difficult time. 

One reason in particular to seek out an experienced attorney is to provide assistance with navigating the complexities of international law, such as the Hague Treaties. The United States has treaties with many nations, generally referred to as the Hague Treaties, related to international abduction of children. The partner nations to the treaty have agreed to help return children to the United States that were habitually residing in the United States at the time of the abduction. Unfortunately, the process is long and time consuming. Be sure you have an attorney who is familiar with the Hague Treaties, how the U.S. State Department works and generally, what the process is.

Specifically, the Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction requires cooperation among the member countries to secure the prompt return of children. Under this Convention, the member countries are required to take certain measures in order to accomplish to prompt return of children. Some of these measures include: discovering the whereabouts of a child who has been wrongfully removed or retained; preventing further harm to the child or prejudice to interested parties; securing the voluntary return of the child or bringing about an amicable resolution of the issues; exchanging, where desirable, information relating to the social background of the child; providing or facilitating the provision of legal aid and advice, including the participation or legal counsel and advisers; and providing such administrative arrangements as may be necessary and appropriate to secure the safe return of the child. 

As you can see from the above listed examples of duties under this Convention, it is broad reaching in its efforts to ensure the prompt return of children who have been abducted and taken to a different country. Even more important is the fact that this Convention has 93 member countries – there are 93 countries that have signed this Convention and are bound under its terms. That means that if you child is taken from here in the United States to any of the 92 other member countries to this Convention, that country is obligated to assist in the return of your child. 

When you are facing such a difficult situation, with your child being taken to a different country without your permission, it is important to know that you are not alone and that there is way to get help. Experienced family law attorneys can walk you through dealing with the U.S. State Department and navigating the Hague Treaties. This can help you get your loved one back safe and sound, which, in the end, is what really matters. 


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