How Can the Hague Convention Help Me With an Orange County Child Abduction Case?
Can the Hague Convention help in child abduction cases: When a child custody agreement is made, there is a good faith understanding that both parties will follow their legal obligations according to the court order, or face the legal consequences. However, when a child custody order is created in Orange County, it may not be valid outside of the State of California, or outside of the United States.
When a child is abducted, or taken from where his or her parents are legally allowed to take him or her according to the custody agreement, it can be difficult to correct the situation. The Hague Convention on the Civil Actions of International Child Abduction is an agreement between several countries that is meant to simplify the process of returning a child to his or her home when the child is illegally removed.
If you are facing a case where you child was illegally removed to another country, the Hague Convention may be of use.
What is the Hague Convention?
The countries who signed the Hague Convention agree to uphold whatever child custody agreement existed prior to the alleged wrongful abduction or retention of the child. This means that the country to which the child was abducted should not create a new child custody agreement, or if they already have and that agreement is not the original agreement, the original shall be upheld.
The Hague Convention only protects children under 16 years old. The following countries are currently parties to the Hague Convention, or have recently been removed.
•Bosnia & Herzegovina
• Burkina Faso
• People’s Republic of China, including Hong Kong & Macao
• Costa Rica
• Czech Republic
• Dominican Republic
• El Salvador
• Republic of Korea
• Republic of Moldova
• New Zealand
• Russian Federation
• Saint Kitts & Nevis
• San Marino
• South Africa
• Sri Lanka
• The Republic of Macedonia
• Trinidad and Tobago
• United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
• United States of America
How can the Hague Convention Help if I Already Have a Child Custody Order?
When a child custody order is created in the United States, it may not be legally recognized in other countries. The Hague Convention allows a child to be returned to his or her home country so that the existing order can be enforced.
Because each separate country is a sovereign nation, no country can interfere with the legal system, law enforcement or judicial systems of any other country. While a child is in a foreign country, that country, and only that country has jurisdiction over the people within his or her borders. Returning a child to the United States allows your current custody order to be enforced.
How Does the Hague Convention Work?
Under the Hague Convention, a country must determine whether a child should be returned to his or her country of habitual residence. Within each country who is a party to the Convention, there must be a Central Authority, who acts as that country’s main contact for families and foreign governments who are dealing with child abduction cases.
The Central Authority’s job is to find the abducted child, and encourage the parent to safely return the child to his or her home.
How Can I Use the Hague Convention if My Child Has Been Abducted From California?
In order to have successful a Hague Convention case, you must show the following.
• Show that your child was habitually residing in one country that is a party to the Hague Convention, and was illegally removed from one and retained in another country that is a party to the convention. The United States is a party to the Hague Convention, so if your child was removed from California, you must prove that the child was taken to another country listed above.
• The removal of your child from the United States and the retention of your child in another country that is a party to the Convention must be considered wrongful. This means that it was in violation of your custodial rights, and that you had been exercising your custodial rights and would have continued to do so if the abduction had not taken place.
• The dates that each country became a party to the Hague Convention are different. Both countries must have been partners under the Convention when the abduction and wrongful retention occurred. These dates are different for every pair of countries, and are not necessarily the dates that each country ratified the treaty.
• The Hague Convention only applies to children who are under 16 years old at the time of filing a Hague Convention Case.
Exceptions to the Obligation to Return a Child Under the Hague Convention
In some cases, a country is not obligated to return a child to his or her country of habitual residence.
• If there is a risk that the child would suffer or be exposed to psychical or mental harm in his or her country of habitual residence, it may not be necessary that he or she is returned.
• If the child has reached an age and level of maturity where his or her views are valid, usually 14-16, and the child does not want to return to his or her country of habitual residence, the country may not be required to return the child.
• If returning the child would “violate the fundamental principles of human rights and freedoms” that exist in the country where the child was taken and retained, the child may not be returned.
Hague Convention Attorney in Orange County, California