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Laura Dale: Expert Witness In Hague Cases

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The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction is a treaty designed to secure the prompt return of children wrongfully removed to or retained in another country. Another important purpose of the treaty is to remove a parent’s incentive to abduct a child to a more favorable jurisdiction and to prevent the disastrous consequences of wrongfully uprooting children from their homes and families without justification.

Suits brought under the Hague Convention are a very effective and expedited method of returning wrongfully removed or retained children to their countries of habitual residence. In the United States, courts are urged by the U.S. central authority to try these cases within six weeks of filing the suit. Time, therefore, is of the essence and it is essential that parents seeking the return or their children, or parents defending against the return of children to their habitual residences, retain experienced competent counsel, immediately.

Nearly 10 Years Of Experience In This Niche Area Of Law

Attorney Laura Dale has extensive experience prosecuting and defending claims for the return of children brought under the Hague Convention. Ms. Dale and her team are prepared to take immediate action to protect children from the consequences of these acts and to enforce the jurisdictional mandates of the treaty. It is imperative that wrongfully removed children be returned to their habitual residences so that children who are removed from the United States are swiftly returned when they are wrongfully removed to another nation that is a signatory to the Hague Convention.

It is also equally important that parents who are defending against Hague actions immediately retain competent counsel to prepare any credible defenses against the return of a child, if any of the allowable defenses under the treaty can be raised to prevent the return of a child who, under the treaty, should not be returned.

What You Should Know About The Hague Convention If Your Child Was Abducted

Every second counts when your child is missing. It is imperative to contact a specialist who can assist you in accomplishing the steps necessary to successfully prosecute a Petition for Return of a Child Under the Hague Convention. You should immediately prepare a formal Hague Application and file it with the Central Authority in the country where you were living with the child immediately prior to the abduction. Usually this application can be filed online.

The content of the application is important and so are all supporting documents attached to the application. Paying careful attention to the details in your application may dramatically increase your chances of quickly obtaining an order for the return of your child to his or her home. Obtaining the assistance of experienced legal counsel both in the country where you reside and in the state where your child has been taken to is important.

The attorneys at Laura Dale & Associates, not only have extensive experience prosecuting and defending Hague cases, they work with a network of highly qualified Hague lawyers worldwide. If you do not know of an experienced Hague lawyer in your country, don’t worry, we can help you locate one. The highly experienced attorneys at Laura Dale & Associates, can help you every step of the way.


  • Be prepared to e-mail a recent photograph of your child to authorities and legal counsel;
  • Obtain and scan into your computer, your child’s recent medical and school records;
  • Obtain translated copies of any custody orders;
  • Obtain and scan copies of your child’s passport and birth certificate;
  • Gather evidence that your child was living in your country before being abducted to the United States (witness affidavits, photographs, etc.);
  • Make sure you have a visa to travel to the United States if a visa is necessary;
  • Make sure your passport is valid;
  • Make arrangements to travel to the United States to testify;

What You Should Know If You Have Removed Your Child From Another Country To The United States

While extremely limited, there are defenses to the return of children under the Hague Convention. Adding to the challenge of defending against such claims is the goal of the Hague Convention to return children to their countries of habitual residence quickly. There is very little time to prepare your case. Retain competent counsel immediately, which may mean retaining counsel from another state.

Prosecuting and defending Hague Convention cases is a highly specialized practice area and there may not be experienced counsel in your state. Ms. Dale has prosecuted and defended numerous cases in both state and federal courts and is admitted to practice in the 5th, 7th and 10th circuits. If your case is pending in a federal court, consider retaining counsel outside of the state if you cannot locate experienced counsel in the state where your case is pending.


  • Be prepared to document your child’s age if your child is 16 years of age or older as the convention does not apply to your child;
  • Be prepared to show how long your child has resided in the United States if you have been here for more than one year with your child.
  • Be prepared to show proof that the child’s other parent consented to your move to the United States with your child;
  • Be prepared to show that the child’s other parent acquiesced to your move to the United States with your child;
  • Be prepared to show that you agreed to only temporarily reside in the foreign country;
  • Be prepared to prove any claims of family violence against your child that put your child at grave risk of physical or psychological harm (sexual abuse; threats to kill a child);
  • Be prepared to return to the country where the child was abducted for purposes of trying a custody case, should your attempt to defeat a Hague action fail. Don’t wait to retain competent counsel in that country. Do it now.

Expert Witness Services And Consulting Services

Attorney Laura Dale has served as an expert witness in numerous Hague cases and is prepared to quickly deliver expert witness affidavits to show rights of custody under Texas law and the exercise of rights of custody for the purposes of meeting the Applicant’s burden of proof in Hague Convention Cases. Ms. Dale is also available as a consultant on Hague matters brought in the United States and in other countries. Ms. Dale speaks French fluently and is available to travel.

Contact Us

Contact Laura Dale in Houston, Texas, by calling her offices locally at 713-574-7952 . She can also be reached via email. Her law firm returns all messages within 24 hours.

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