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What is the Hague Convention on International Child Abduction?

If your foreign-born ex-spouse wants to take your child(ren) to his or her country of origin for a visit, you may fear that (s)he will not return them to you in Texas at the end of the visit. Unfortunately, parental abduction is a far too frequent occurrence and can pose a significant problem when parents abduct their child(ren) to a foreign country.

Should you face such a situation, you likely can get your child(ren) back in the most expeditious manner by applying for Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction assistance. As The Hague Conference on Private International Law explains, this international treaty signed by 98 countries, including the United States, provides not only that these countries will respect each other’s child custody laws, but also that they will cooperate with each other when an internationally abducted child needs to be returned to his or her “habitual residence,” i.e., the country in which (s)he resided prior to the abduction.

The Convention application process

You must apply to the Convention’s Central Authority in the United States if you wish to receive assistance. Your application should include the following:

  • Your full identification information, plus that of your ex-spouse and the child(ren) currently in his or her possession
  • Each abducted child’s date of birth
  • Your grounds for applying for assistance
  • All information you have about your child(ren)’s current whereabouts
  • All information you have about the person(s) you believe has or have your child(ren)

Supporting documents

In addition to the above information, you should also include certified copies of the following in support of your application:

  • Your divorce decree
  • Your custody order
  • Your parenting plan
  • Any additional pertinent information that proves you have legal custody of your child(ren)

As soon as the Central Authority processes all the information you send it, it will begin to work with the country in which your child(ren) currently are located. The objective of both countries is to get your child(ren) back to you as quickly as possible. This is general educational information and not intended to provide legal advice.

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