International Family Law Attorneys Helping Clients with Child Abductions and Child Custody Cases

Nothing is more devastating than living in the fear of losing a child. In fact, thousands of children are being removed from their residential country each year – without or against the will of at least one parent.

Prompt Action Is Required

child custodyIf this happened or if you believe that this might happen to your child, prompt action is required: The longer a child resides in another state or country, the more likely it is that a court will recognize this new location to be the permanent and future residence of the child.

In 1980, a number of countries got together to sign a treaty that shall ensure uniform procedures and judicial cooperation in case of international child abduction. This so-called “Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction” (Hague Convention) is effective, inter alia, among Argentina, Australia, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Israel, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, United Kingdom, United States of America, and Venezuela.

For example, if a child is removed from the United States and brought to Italy, courts in both countries are obliged to follow the provisions and the procedure of the Hague Convention. The Hague Convention has either constitutional or federal national law status in all signatory countries and will trump local rules or state laws for domestic family disputes. Courts in all signatory countries must follow the Hague Convention. This obligation also applies to the United States.

Habitual Residence of the Child

Generally, a Hague Convention application may be made when a child is taken or retained across an international border, away from the child’s habitual residence, without consent from a parent who retains custody rights, as long as the two relevant countries are parties to the Hague Convention. The general outcome is that a local court will order and enforce the return of the child to its habitual residence.

Where is the habitual residence of a child? The Convention requires the petitioning parent to establish that the child was taken from the habitual residence and that the parent had rights of custody under the law of the home jurisdiction.

Because the term “habitual residence” is not defined by the Hague Convention and because jurisprudence has set forth imprecise contours concerning its scope and meaning, courts frequently rely on legal experts. Accordingly, it is often of crucial importance to use foreign law lawyers and legal experts to establish the existence and scope of the petitioning parent’s rights.

Our Foreign Law Experience

  • We testify concerning the following legal systems: e.g. United States, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, England, France, Germany, Italy, Mexico, Peru, and many other nations.
  • We have a global network of law experts ready to assist.

In sum, international child abductions require fast responses by competent and internationally versed and well-connected family law attorneys. Our global child abduction lawyers are ready to file Hague Convention applications and institute or defend a Hague Convention proceeding.

Please contact us today to discuss the particulars of your situation. We are here to help you and there is no fee for the initial consultation.