During custody disputes, things can get ugly quickly. It's not uncommon for parents to try and slander one another to get sole custody of their child from a court.
In extreme cases, parents may even try to take their child to another country entirely. If your child is the victim of international abduction, an attorney who understands the Hague Convention can help you take the right steps to get your child back safe and sound.
At TRABOLSI | LEVI | GABBARD LLP, our Los Angeles Hague Convention attorneys understand the ins and outs of international abduction cases. We'll work with you to get your child back, no matter where they are, or defend against false claims of wrongful abduction or retention.
The Hague Abduction Convention is a treaty that many countries, including the US, participate in.
The premise of the Hague Abduction Convention is simple: Custody and visitation disputes should be resolved in a child's home country, near their habitual residence.
If a parent abducts their child from the US to another country that participates in the Convention, country officers in the US and the country in question will work together under the Convention to return the child to the US (assuming the US is where the child habitually resides).
How Do Hague Convention Cases Work?
If your co-parent abducts your child to another country participating in the Convention, you should file a Hague application as quickly as you can. A lawyer with experience handling international abductions can help you file the application. If you wait more than a year to file an application, you may have more difficulty recovering your child. You do not need to possess an existing custody order to file a Hague application.
You can file for a Hague application by visiting this link.
You'll submit your Hague Application to the Central Authority, which acts as a primary resource and point of contact for parents involved in international abduction cases.
You can file for a Hague application if:
- Your child is a habitual resident of the US and was wrongfully removed or retained to another country.
- The parent who removed or retained your child violates your custodial rights by doing so (either removing your child in violation of an existing custody order, or before you can establish a custody order).
- The parent who removed or retained your child took your child to a country participating in the Convention (also called a "partner country").
- The child is under 16-years-old.
You can use various documents to support your claim that your child is a habitual resident of the US. Birth certificates, social security numbers, passports, and other forms of identification can all serve as evidence of your child's habitual residence. You should work with your lawyer to collect evidence of your child's residence that you can include in your Hague application and when speaking with country officers.
A court can deny a parent's petition to return their child under the Hague Convention if:
- The parent requesting the return of their child presents a physical or psychological danger to the child;
- The child is old enough (and mature enough) to refuse their other parent's attempt to return them;
- More than a year has passed since the child was removed or retained;
- The parent seeking the return originally acquiesced to the removal but then retracted that decision;
- Returning the child to their habitual residence would violate their human rights;
- The parent requesting the return did not have custodial rights when they filed for a Hague application.
At TRABOLSI | LEVY | GABBARD LLP, our Los Angeles Hague Convention lawyers have the experience necessary to help you progress with your case. Our Los Angeles international abduction attorneys will work with you to protect your parental rights and pursue an ideal outcome for your child.