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Laura Dale & Associates, P.C.

How the Hague Convention applies to international child abduction

Texas residents have witnessed the world becoming an increasingly smaller place. It's more accessible, which has led to many marriages between individuals who originate in different countries. This has led to some complex child custody disputes. Many have questions about what laws apply when a parent takes a child from one nation to another without the consent of their spouse.

Studying or working abroad is not uncommon in this day and age. An international person may marry someone from that country, have kids and then take the children (with their passports) back to their country of origin. When this occurs, the children may be protected by the Hague Convention. As of May 2018, nearly one hundred countries have ratified the Civil Aspects of Child Abduction, which lays out protocol for the adjudication and return of children who were removed by a parent. Member countries must promptly return the children to the country that is considered the habitual residence of the children if they were wrongfully removed, according to Article 3 of the Hague Convention.

The laws in the country where the child habitually resides will typically determine custody rights. It's important for individuals to be aware of laws pertaining to child custody in the country where the child habitually resides. For example, there are some countries that do not provide rights to the father if the couple is not married. The situation can become even more complicated if the countries involved are not a part of the Hague Convention.

Timing is everything when it comes to complex child custody disputes. If a child is wrongfully removed/retained in another nation, the parent left behind needs to take action quickly. They could talk about their situation with a lawyer. Legal counsel may help the client assert their rights as soon as possible.

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