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Laura Dale & Associates, P.C.

The Hague Convention and international custody conflicts

When you got married, you never imagined you'd one day be involved in a contentious custody battle with a former spouse who had taken your children out of the United States without your permission. But life is full of change, and some changes in your life may come about unexpectedly, perhaps in ways that affect your children.

Your children's best interests are among your highest priorities. You want to shield your kids from the stress and emotional turmoil that can come with child custody battles. The good news is that there are laws and people who can help you protect your rights and get your kids back.

Taking action

Parental abduction is a serious problem. The more you know about your legal rights as a parent, the sooner you can take action to rectify your custody situation. The following information may point you in the right direction to take action against unapproved relocation of children:

  • Hague Convention: This treaty is also known as the Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. The treaty applies in all jurisdictions that have signed in agreement. If your children are ages 16 and under, the Hague Convention can help you secure their return from an international location if their other parent took them there without your approval.
  • Uniform Child Abduction Prevention Act (UCAPA): This act helps prevent child abductions from occurring in child custody situations. If your former spouse has acted in violation of a UCAPA petition you already filed, you can take immediate action to demand the return of your children.
  • Experienced family law support: One of the best assets to have on your side is an attorney with experience in handling international custody matters. Having an attorney who is licensed to practice in federal court and is well versed in the UCAPA and Hague Convention can increase your chances of obtaining the best possible results.

In the meantime, try to maintain frequent contact with your children while they are overseas. Hopefully, your former spouse has made sure they have open lines of communication with you. Such situations can be unsettling, but if you know your rights and you get support, you can act in your children's best interests and seek appropriate legal enforcement.

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