The Hague Convention and Joe Jonas & Sophie Turner’s Custody Battle

Actress Sophie Turner has initiated a Hague Convention petition claiming her estranged husband, singer and actor Joe Jonas, ‘will not consent’ for their children to ‘return’ to England with her. Here’s a look at the details behind the case, plus we’ll take a look at other celebrities who have had high-stakes custody battles over the years.

After filing for divorce, Sophie Turner’s ex, Joe Jonas, is in a custody dispute over their two children: Willa, 3, and a 14-month-old daughter referred to as D. In her lawsuit, Turner alleges that Jonas is withholding their children’s passports, preventing them from joining her in England.

Best known for playing Sansa Stark on HBO’s Game of Thrones, Turner said in her petition that the couple had planned to raise their daughters in her native country. It also said the girls “are both fully involved and integrated in all aspects of daily and cultural life in England”.

Sophie Turner filed her petition under the child abduction clauses of the Hague Convention.

What is the Hague Convention?

International family law can be complex and challenging, especially concerning child custody disputes. The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, aka the Hague Convention, is an international treaty that protects children from parental abduction across international borders.

The Hague Convention of 25 October 1980 on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction (1980 Hague Convention) is a multilateral treaty that establishes proceedings for the prompt return of children who have been wrongfully removed or kept away from their home country. Currently, there are 101 Contracting States to the Hague Convention. Including the United States and the United Kingdom.

How Did They Get Here?

When Sophie Turner and Joe Jonas met through mutual friends in 2016, they kept most of their relationship out of the private eye. But things started to change after Joe proposed just one year after their relationship began. The couple went on to tie the knot at an epic wedding in Las Vegas in 2019, with a second wedding in France. In 2020, the introduced their first child to the family unit, and a second in 2022. But just a year later and four years after saying “I do”, they decided to go their separate ways.

Earlier this week, Turner was photographed having dinner with pop star Taylor Swift – who dated Jonas in 2008. Online gossip blogs were in overdrive as photos of the two, walking along arm-in-arm, went viral.

Despite calling the split “amicable”, Jonas, 34, filed for divorce in a Florida court on September 1, but according to Turner, 27, she only learned about the divorce through the media five days later. Jonas has disputed this saying he did not surprise Turner with divorce papers but rather filed for divorce after what he said were “multiple conversations with Sophie”.

Wherever the truth lies in who initiated the divorce and how, the focus remains on their children and where they will reside.

The plan was for Turner to travel to New York after filming wrapped on September 14 to collect the children, but in the meantime “the breakdown of the parties’ marriage happened very suddenly,” Turner said. Turner says she and Jonas saw each other on September 17 — and she asked him for the children’s passports so she could take them back to England.

But Jonas refused to turn over the girls’ passports, who were born in the US, and have dual US-British citizenship. Turner then filed her petition, now public, which Masters Law Group has revised, in federal court in New York under the child abduction clauses of the Hague Convention — an international treaty aimed at compelling the return of a child taken from their country of “habitual residence.”

The Turner/Jonas Hague Convention Case

The court filing says the girls are temporarily living with Turner in a Manhattan hotel.

Joe Jonas has released a statement in response to Turner’s lawsuit. The statement mentioned that the former couple had a “cordial” meeting in New York, during which they discussed working together for an amicable co-parenting arrangement. However, hours later, Turner expressed her desire to permanently take the children to the UK. The statement read, “Less than 24 hours later, Sophie advised that she wanted to take the children permanently to the UK. Thereafter, she demanded via this filing that Joe hand over the children’s passports so that she could take them out of the country immediately.” This has been reported by PEOPLE.

Sophie Turner claims that she and Joe Jonas agreed during discussions on Christmas in 2022 to make England their “forever home.” According to the documents, they sold their Miami home and were in the process of buying a new residence in the English countryside in April.

“The children were born in the US and have spent the vast majority of their lives in the US. They are American citizens,” the spokesperson said.

They added that Jonas wished for Turner to “reconsider her harsh legal position and move forward in a more constructive and private manner” and that “his only concern is the well-being of his children.”

Jonas has also denied Turner’s claims in the court documents that she found out about the divorce from media reports – saying she was aware in advance.

Celebrities & Child Custody/Parental Responsibilities Cases

Unfortunately, Sophie Turner and Joe Jonas aren’t the first Hollywood couple to face divorce cases involving parental responsibilities (formerly Child Custody) disputes.

Celebrities who have been involved in high-profile child custody battles in the past, include:

  1. Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt: This Hollywood power couple had a highly publicized custody battle following their divorce in 2016. They reached a temporary agreement, and the case has seen various developments since then and still ongoing.
  2. Halle Berry and Gabriel Aubry: Halle Berry and her ex-boyfriend Gabriel Aubry had a contentious custody battle over their daughter, Nahla, following their separation.
  3. Usher and Tameka Foster: Singer Usher and his ex-wife Tameka Foster were involved in a custody battle over their two children, which resulted in Usher gaining primary custody.
  4. Kelly Rutherford and Daniel Giersch: The “Gossip Girl” actress Kelly Rutherford had a prolonged custody battle with her ex-husband Daniel Giersch over their two children, involving international custody issues.
  5. Britney Spears and Kevin Federline: Pop star Britney Spears and her ex-husband Kevin Federline had a custody dispute over their two sons after their divorce.
  6. Alec Baldwin and Kim Basinger: Actor Alec Baldwin and actress Kim Basinger had a highly publicized custody battle over their daughter, Ireland, which lasted for several years.
  7. Charlie Sheen and Denise Richards: Actor Charlie Sheen and his ex-wife Denise Richards were involved in a custody dispute over their two daughters.
  8. Mel Gibson and Oksana Grigorieva: Actor Mel Gibson and Oksana Grigorieva had a custody battle over their daughter after their tumultuous relationship ended.

Legal Assistance & Representation

It’s not just celebrities like Sophie Turner and Joe Jonas who are involved in international child abduction cases. If you are facing a similar legal battle, seeking the assistance of an attorney experienced in the Hague Convention can help you understand your legal options and how to take immediate action.

These attorneys possess the necessary knowledge and experience to guide parents through the legal process and protect their rights. If you have concerns about custody of your child and where they will reside, it is crucial to take proactive measures to safeguard their well-being. Your attorney may recommend several preventative measures, such as:

  1. Obtaining a custody order or parenting plan that clearly outlines each parent’s rights and responsibilities, including travel restrictions.
  2. Adding your child’s name to a watchlist to prevent unauthorized removal from the country.
  3. Obtaining a court order requires surrendering your child’s passport or imposing restrictions on international travel.
  4. Collaborating with your child’s school or daycare to establish security measures and emergency protocols.

As for Sophie Turner and Joe Jonas, the case continues. Read the “Verified petition for return of children to England” here.

 


 

 

Child Abduction Lawyer

The nightmare of a child abduction is a situation no parent ever wants to face. The feeling of helplessness can be overwhelming, but immediate action is essential to ensure your child’s safe return. 

Illinois courts regard child abduction with utmost severity. Child abduction is a serious crime that can have a significant impact on the well-being of a child. Similarly, parents of a child who’s been abducted suffer greatly.

Child abduction or child theft is the unauthorized removal of a minor from the custody of the child’s natural parents or legally appointed guardians. A stranger might abduct a child for criminal activities, including sexual exploitation, extortion, ransom, or worse. Some strangers may abduct with the intent to raise the child as if it were their own. Additionally, during divorce proceedings, one parent might take away a child without the other parent’s consent.

In cases involving international abduction, the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction provides a framework for cooperation among countries. 

UNDERSTANDING CHILD ABDUCTION

Child abduction is a distressing problem that impacts numerous families. Every thousand children are abducted by a family member each year. Almost 5% of children in the US have experienced a parental abduction in their lifetime.

Child abduction is when someone (a stranger or family member) takes a child without legal permission, causing great distress and separation from the family. These frightening situations also occur worldwide, impacting families across the globe. In such complex cases, seeking the assistance of a child abduction attorney becomes vital. Let’s look at some steps you can take to help you move through this frightening situation.

IMMEDIATE STEPS TO TAKE

If you are in a heartbreaking situation of suspecting that your child has been abducted, taking swift and strategic action is crucial. Begin by immediately contacting your local law enforcement agency to report the abduction. Provide them with all available information about your child, including:

  • Recent photographs
  • Physical characteristics such as height, weight, and eye color.
  • Any psychical features that might help identify them.

Simultaneously, gather any evidence that could be helpful in the investigation. Evidence could include potential witnesses, last-known locations, and any communication you might have had with the abductor. While child abduction is incredibly distressing, reaching out to your support networks is essential to ensure you have emotional and logistical assistance. Acting promptly and systematically can significantly improve your child’s safe and timely recovery. 

Several factors influence the determination of the necessary actions to take. Working alongside a child abduction attorney with experience in the Hague Convention can be highly beneficial throughout this time.

UNDERSTANDING THE Hague Convention

In cases involving international abduction, the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction provides a framework for cooperation among countries. The Convention’s framework enables countries to collaborate to solve complex custody cases involving child abduction. 

The Convention doesn’t rely on the immigration status or nationality of the child. In certain situations, a country might wrongfully detain a child if they are not a resident. Violations of custodial rights occur when the child is taken away from their customary home and is now residing in a foreign country.

The Central Authority has the following responsibilities:

  • Serve as the point of contact for parents and children in international child custody cases.
  • Aid in locating abducted children.
  • Promote solutions that consider the best interests of both parents.
  • Submit documents as part of the application that are admissible in courts of partner countries.

To prove that a parent’s custodial rights were violated when the child was taken from their country, presenting a custody order is unnecessary; proof of parenthood or marriage can verify this. The return of a child to their habitual residence is not contingent on the immigration status or nationality of the child or their parents.

Working with a child abduction attorney can provide valuable help. Child abduction attorneys are critical in ensuring children’s safety and well-being. Their ability to support the children and the troubled families caught in such distressing situations is admirable and comforting.

GETTING HELP FROM A FAMILY LAW ATTORNEY

If you face such a child abduction case, you must act fast. A family law attorney experienced with child abductions must be ready to file a Hague Convention application and defend a Hague Convention lawsuit on short notice. Because of this, locating counsel with knowledge and experience in Hague proceedings is vital. 

Erin Masters and Anthony Joseph have extensive experience in cases involving international child abduction disputes in the State of Illinois and the United States federal court system. 

Feel free to explore our recent featured Hague Decisions:

FINAL THOUGHTS

Are you facing or at risk of the daunting scenario of child abduction? Don’t navigate this complex journey alone. Take the first step toward securing your child’s safety and well-being by reaching out to our dedicated lawyers at Masters Law Group. 

If you need a child abduction lawyer with substantial experience in dealing with child abduction cases, contact us today to schedule your consultation.

The Hague Convention and Family Law: FAQs

Parental child abduction is a living nightmare for parents and families across the globe. But what happens when your child is taken overseas? Continue reading here to find out.

Living in an interconnected world makes it easier for families to extend across international borders. However, this can lead to legal challenges that require cross-country cooperation and understanding.  The Hague Convention on Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction (“The Hague Convention”) is a treaty that many countries, including the United States, have joined. Its purpose is to protect children and their parents from the harmful effects of this growing crime.

If you have urgent questions or suspect you may face the scenario of International Parental Child Abduction in the future, here are some key questions and answers that could help.

FAQ 1: What Is The Hague Convention?

The Hague Convention on Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction was enacted into law through the International Child Abduction Remedies Act (ICARA), which provides that a parent whose child has been wrongfully removed from or retained their custody may petition for the child’s return to their country of habitual residence. This treaty was developed by the Hague Conference on Private International Law (HCCH) and entered into force in December 1983.

There are over 93 countries that participate in the treaty. This treaty governs the way other countries’ legal systems work together. There were two specific goals in mind at the time of The Hague Services Convention’s formation:

  • Create a means to ensure that judicial and extrajudicial documents to be served abroad can be brought to the notice of the addressee in sufficient time.
  • Improve the organization of mutual judicial assistance.

FAQ 2: How Important is Habitual Residence?

Habitual residence is a crucial concept within the Hague Convention. It refers to where a child has established a regular, integrated, and stable life. Determining habitual residence is essential in deciding which country’s legal system should govern issues like custody and visitation. This prevents parents from moving their children to another country to gain a legal advantage in custody disputes.

A left-behind parent pursuing their child’s return must demonstrate that the child was subjected to wrongful removal or retention per the Convention’s definition. It involves proving that the child’s habitual residence was in a foreign country immediately before the alleged illegal action occurred. The left-behind parent must also confirm their custody rights during the purported wrongful removal or retention.

FAQ 3: What issues arise in cross-border disputes under the Hague Convention?

There an infinite issues that could arise when dealing with international disputes. Often, many challenges intertwine legal, cultural, and jurisdictional complexities. While the Hague Convention emphasizes the prompt return of abducted children, certain exceptions exist, known as Hague Convention Defenses:

Defense 1: That the petitioner (parent seeking the return of the child) was not “actually exercising custody rights at the time of the removal or retention” under Article 13.

Defense 2: The petitioner “had consented to or acquiesced in the removal or retention” under Article 13.

Defense 3: More than one year passed from the time of the wrongful removal or retention until the date the petitioner commenced a judicial or administrative proceeding for the child’s return under Article 12.

Defense 4: The child is old enough and has a sufficient degree of maturity to knowingly object to being returned to the petitioner. It is appropriate to heed that objection under Article 13.

Defense 5: That “there is a grave risk that the child’s return would expose the child to physical or psychological harm or otherwise place the child in an intolerable situation,” under Article 13(b), and

Defense 6: That return of the child would subject the child to violation of basic human rights and fundamental freedoms under Article 20.

Furthermore, when a child has dual nationality, conflicts might arise regarding which country’s laws should be applied. Effective communication between the legal systems of different countries can also be hindered by language barriers, slowing down the resolution process. As these cases touch upon the sensitive matters of a child’s welfare and custodial rights, working with an established Hague Convention Attorney can help guide you through these challenging scenarios.

FAQ 4: How Does the Hague Convention Interact with Family Law Matters?

Central authorities are vital in facilitating communication and cooperation between the countries involved in a case. They work together to locate the child, gather necessary information, and resolve the situation quickly. The Hague Convention highlights the importance of minimizing a child’s time separated from their custodial parent. This allows them to maintain stability in their lives.

Mediation methods can also offer a more amicable solution to family disputes. Integrating mediation into the Hague Convention proceedings could allow families to address their concerns outside the courtroom, reducing emotional distress and fostering cooperative outcomes prioritizing the children’s well-being.

Furthermore, the U.S. Department of State and an experienced Family Law Firm dedicated to International Parental Child Abduction cases can also help to enforce the safe return of your child or children.

How Can I Find a Hague Convention Attorney?

To help ensure you have the best possible outcome in your Hague Convention case, you should seek an attorney who understands the intricacy of dealing with state, federal, and international laws.

Family law attorneys Erin Masters and Anthony Joseph of Masters Law Group have extensive experience in cases involving international child abduction disputes in the State of Illinois and the United States federal court system. Our unique depth of knowledge, experience, and talent in the Hague Convention field highlights our competence in providing legal counsel for these fast-paced and stressful scenarios. 

For more information on our experience, here are a few of our highlighted Hague Convention cases:

Contact our office today to schedule your consultation.

Debunking Common Myths About The Hague Convention

The Hague Convention has gained widespread attention across the globe, yet many parents in the United States still have much to discover when it comes to its true purpose and potential in Parental Child Abduction. 

The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction is a treaty that many countries, including the United States, have joined.

The purpose of the Convention is to protect children from the harmful effects of international abduction by a parent by encouraging the prompt return of abducted children to their country of habitual residence and to organize or secure the effective rights of access to a child. The idea is that custody and visitation matters should generally be decided by the proper court in the country of the child’s habitual residence.

Today, we debunk myths and show you how the convention can be beneficial. Here’s what you need to know.

Myth 1: The Hague Convention is only applicable in cases of child abduction

One of the most common misunderstandings surrounding The Hague Convention is the belief that it is limited to international child abduction cases. While it is true that the convention places significant emphasis on addressing child abduction, its reach extends far beyond this context. The Hague Convention also addresses other critical aspects related to the well-being of children.

An important objective of The Hague Convention is to swiftly return children who have been wrongfully removed or retained by one parent without the consent of the other. This provision helps ensure that children are kept from their custodial parent in a foreign jurisdiction with a proper legal basis.

Furthermore, The Hague Convention recognizes the importance of regular contact and access between children and both of their parents when living in separate nations. This provision promotes a balanced approach that seeks to preserve meaningful relationships and minimize disruptions in a child’s life.

Myth 2: The Hague Convention automatically guarantees the return of a child

Contrary to popular belief, the Hague Convention does not guarantee the automatic return of a child in all cases. However, it is essential to understand that the convention has a legal framework for facilitating the return of a child. But certain circumstances, defenses and exceptions may arise.

One exception is when there is a genuine concern of physical or psychological harm to the child if they were to be returned to their country of habitual residence. The Hague Convention recognizes the importance of the child’s well-being and safety. 

If it can be established that there is a grave risk of harm, the courts may decide not to order the child’s return, prioritizing their best interests. The convention strives to strike a delicate balance between facilitating the return of children in most cases while safeguarding their well-being and protecting their fundamental rights.

Myth 3: The Hague Convention favors mothers over fathers

Another common misconception is that the Hague Convention tends toward mothers over fathers. However, the gender-neutral convention aims to protect the child’s best interests rather than select one parent. It emphasizes the importance of maintaining regular contact between the child and both parents, assuming no risks to the child’s well-being.

The Hague Convention recognizes that children benefit from having a meaningful and ongoing relationship with both parents. It promotes the principle of shared parental responsibility and seeks to maintain regular contact between the child and both parents, irrespective of gender. The convention operates under the assumption that the involvement of both parents contributes to the child’s well-being and healthy development.

When a case arises under The Hague Convention, the focus is not on selecting one parent over the other. Ultimately, the court will determine what arrangement best serves the child’s best interests. The courts consider various factors, such as

  • The child’s age.
  • Attachments and mental stability.
  • The ability of each parent to provide a nurturing environment.

The goal is to arrive at a decision that ensures the child’s overall welfare and enables them to maintain a meaningful relationship with both parents.

Myth 4: The Hague Convention is impossible to navigate

The Hague Convention can vary depending on factors such as legal representation and the case’s complexity. However, the convention also encourages countries to assist parents lacking resources, ensuring that constraints do not impede access to justice.

These central authorities are vital in facilitating communication and cooperation between the countries involved in a case. They work together to locate the child, gather necessary information, and resolve the situation quickly. The Hague Convention highlights the importance of minimizing a child’s time separated from their custodial parent. This allows them to maintain stability in their lives.

Furthermore, the U.S. Department of State and an experienced Family Law Firm dedicated to International Parental Child Abduction cases can also help to enforce the safe return of your child or children.

Myth 5: The Hague Convention is universally accepted and followed by all countries

One important misconception to address is the belief that The Hague Convention is universally accepted and followed by all countries. While the convention has substantial international recognition, not all nations have ratified or acceded to its provisions. This can create complexities, particularly in cross-border child abduction cases, where one or both countries are non-signatories.

Ninety-three countries have ratified The Hague Convention, demonstrating a widespread acknowledgment of its importance in stopping international parental abduction and related matters. These countries have committed to implementing the convention’s principles and cooperating at every stage to help ensure the prompt return of abducted children.

However, it is crucial to recognize the challenges when dealing with countries that have not fully implemented The Hague Convention. In such cases, the lack of a recognized legal framework can complicate efforts to return an abducted child. This can also alter effective communication and cooperation between jurisdictions.

Final Thoughts

The Hague Convention is a critical international treaty that provides essential protection for children against the detrimental consequences of cross-border abduction and retention. It is vital to distinguish between truth and misinformation to promote a clearer understanding of the convention’s purpose. We can foster greater awareness and appreciation for The Hague Convention by dispelling misconceptions.

Voted Best Law Firm 2023, Masters Law Group is home to the best highly-experienced family law attorneys, Erin E. Masters and Anthony G. Joseph, who possess extensive knowledge in Hague law. Our dedicated team of professionals is well-equipped to navigate the intricate landscape of international law, delivering robust representation in these complex and high-stakes proceedings.

Contact our office today to schedule your consultation and gain valuable insights into your case.

Highlighted Hague Decisions:

Hague Convention: World Day of International Justice

On July 17th, the world unites to celebrate World Day for International Justice. The day also highlights important topics such as The Hague Convention in upholding justice on a global scale. Let’s take a deeper look at what today signifies. 

The Hague Convention on Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction (“The Hague Convention”) is vital for resolving cross-border legal disputes involving minors and maintaining harmonious international relations. Today, we explore the significance of the Hague Convention and its impact on promoting justice worldwide. Here’s what you need to know.

Understanding the Hague Convention

The Hague Convention of 25 October 1980 on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction (1980 Hague Convention) is a multilateral treaty that establishes proceedings for the prompt return of children who have been wrongfully removed or kept away from their home country. Currently, there are 101 Contracting States to the Hague Convention. Including the United States.

Promoting Family Law Cooperation

The Hague Convention promotes cooperation among diverse legal systems, particularly international family law. Recognizing the complexities that can arise in cross-border family disputes, the Convention actively encourages member countries to establish effective communication channels, exchange relevant information, and engage in meaningful cooperation.

Through cooperation, the Convention facilitates the sharing of expertise, best practices, and legal frameworks among member countries. This knowledge-sharing helps bridge gaps in understanding and cultural differences, leading to a more effective and culturally sensitive resolution in cross-border family law cases. It recognizes the importance of safeguarding the rights and interests of families, promoting stability, and minimizing potential harm.

The Hague Convention ultimately contributes to the overarching goal of international justice. By facilitating fair and efficient resolution of cross-border family disputes, the Convention upholds the principles of fairness, equality, and protection of individual rights. It seeks to establish a framework that respects diverse legal systems while working towards common goals and shared values.

Understanding Family Law Limitations 

The Hague Convention, while comprehensive in its scope, may encounter limitations when applied in practice. Each case is unique, and complexities can arise due to cultural differences and interpretation of the Convention’s provisions. These challenges can affect the process and outcome of international cases, underscoring the importance of seeking legal advice.

To effectively navigate these obstacles and achieve the best possible outcomes in international family law cases, seeking guidance from legal professionals well-versed in international family law becomes crucial. Legal professionals experienced in international family law possess the expertise and knowledge necessary to navigate the complexities of the Hague Convention. They can provide valuable guidance on interpreting and applying the Convention’s provisions, helping individuals involved in international divorce cases understand their rights and obligations.

Recognition and Enforcement of Judgments

In an increasingly interconnected world, the recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments play a critical role in upholding the rule of law. The Hague Convention ensures that court judgments rendered in one jurisdiction are duly recognized and enforced in another. The Hague Convention is a robust framework for identifying and enforcing foreign judgments. It provides a mechanism through which decisions issued in one country can be acknowledged and given effect in another jurisdiction. This harmonization of recognition and enforcement procedures helps to streamline legal processes, reducing delays and uncertainties that could hinder international transactions.

By recognizing and enforcing foreign judgments, the Convention fosters trust and confidence among nations. It ensures that individuals can rely on the judicial outcomes obtained in one jurisdiction when operating across borders. This promotes legal certainty, reduces the risk of duplicative proceedings, and facilitates the smooth flow of commerce and investments between countries.

Initiating the Process

Deciding whether to file a Hague application is an important decision and must be considered based on each case’s specific circumstances. Perhaps after separating from their partner, a parent wants to take their child and move to another country. Maybe a parent moved internationally in violation of a custody agreement.

Filing a case under the Convention does not guarantee that your child will be returned. To obtain the return of your child through a Hague proceeding, you must first be able to demonstrate the following:

  • That your child was habitually resident in one Convention country and was wrongfully removed to or retained in another Convention country;
  • The removal or retention of your child is considered wrongful if it was in violation of your custodial rights, and you were exercising those rights at the time of the removal or retention, or you would have been exercising them but for the removal or retention.
  • The Convention must have been in force between the two countries when the wrongful removal or retention occurred (the dates are different for every country); (Note: In many instances, when a country accedes to the Convention, it is not automatically partners with all of the other countries who have ratified or acceded to the Convention.  Countries must accept another country’s accession to the Convention under the terms described in the Convention before a treaty partnership is created.
  • The child is under the age of 16.

U.S Legal Resources

Why Choose Masters Law Group?

International custody issues can be incredibly difficult to deal with as a parent because of the concern you have for the safety and security of your child, and should be handled properly by a knowledgeable attorney.

Erin Masters and Anthony Joseph have extensive experience in cases involving international child custody disputes and parental abductions in both courts located in the State of Illinois and the United States federal court system.

Read the details of our most recent successful Hague Convention cases below. Furthermore, see what our clients have to say on representing their Hague Convention on Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction case:

I had a very difficult case in the United States Federal Court. My ex husband filed a Petition against me under the Hague Convention on Civil Aspects of International Child abduction asking to return our two sons to Lithuania. Seeking for the legal representation, I was advised by the U.S. Department of State to contact lawyer Erin E. Masters. I was so lucky to have the team of the best lawyers Erin E. Masters and Anthony G. Joseph representing me in this difficult trial.

They represented with the highest standards of law, but also provided support and empathy through the process. The communication was fantastic, always answered every question, explained every situation and possible outcome. As it was a very fast track case, Erin and Anthony worked hard including weekends to prepare everything for the hearing. There was only one hearing and the Decision was totally in my favor. All my family, especially the kids, are very grateful! It is also fair to mention that the legal expenses for the amount of services provided was very very reasonable.

I will gladly recommend Erin Masters and Anthony Joseph to represent any of my friends and family in need of an excellent and highly professional family attorney.

— Aistė Šulcaitė

Final Thoughts

As we commemorate World Day for International Justice, we must acknowledge the ongoing efforts toward establishing a just framework. Rather than grappling with complex international law issues alone, seeking professional guidance is highly recommended in these time-critical cases. If you need legal assistance in Cook County or DuPage County, Illinois, look no further than Masters Law Group. Our experienced team is dedicated to guiding you through the intricate legal landscape of international law to provide robust representation in these challenging and high-stakes proceedings.

Featured Hague Decisions:

Child Support Enforcement and the Hague Convention on Recovery of International Child Support

The Hague Convention provides an expeditious method to return a child internationally abducted by a parent from one member country to another. The Hague Convention on the International Recovery of Child Support is a multilateral treaty governing the enforcement of judicial decisions regarding child support (and other forms of family support) extraterritorially.

Relationships between families from different countries and cultures can be complex, especially when a children’s well-being and financial support are involved. In fact, there are approximately 15 million child support cases in the United States, including an estimated 150,000 international cases. In cases where parents reside in different countries, ensuring child support can become even more challenging. With the growing number of international families, there is an uptick in international parental child abductions where parents illegally take their child or children overseas without the other parent’s consent.

The Hague Convention on Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction (“The Hague Convention”) was enacted into law through the International Child Abduction Remedies Act (“ICARA”) which provides that a parent whose child has been wrongfully removed from or retained in the United States may petition for the child’s return to his or her country of habitual residence.

The Hague Convention on the International Recovery of Child Support and Other Forms of Family Maintenance, also referred to as the Hague Maintenance Convention or the Hague Child Support Convention is a multilateral treaty governing the enforcement of judicial decisions regarding child support (and other forms of family support) extraterritorially. It is one of a number of conventions in the area of private international law of the Hague Conference on Private International Law in 2007.

Understanding Hague Child Support Convention

The Convention of 23 November 2007 on the International Recovery of Child Support and Other Forms of Family Maintenance (HCCH 2007 Child Support Convention) and the Protocol of 23 November 2007 on the Law Applicable to Maintenance Obligations (HCCH 2007 Maintenance Obligations Protocol) seeks to establish a modern, efficient and accessible international system for the cross-border recovery of child support and other forms of family maintenance. This specialized section contains a range of information on the Convention and the Protocol, including their full texts, current status, explanatory documents and other materials which will assist those working with these instruments.

This is the first global child support treaty ratified by the United States. It contains groundbreaking provisions that, for the first time on a world-wide scale, establish uniform, inexpensive, and effective procedures for the processing of international child support cases.

Key Areas of the Hague Child Support Convention

A few highlights from the Hague Child Support Convention:

  • The Convention provides a legal framework and administrative procedures that are both ground breaking and results-oriented.
  • The Convention will greatly speed up the enforcement of U.S. orders. It limits the circumstances under which a court can review and object to an order. It requires recognition of a U.S. order unless a respondent timely raises a challenge and it limits available objections that the respondent may raise to those similar to ones now allowed under U.S. law.
  • The Convention recognizes U.S. due process requirements. It allows a challenge to recognition of a foreign support order if there was a lack of notice and an opportunity for a hearing. It allows a challenge if the order does not comply with U.S. jurisdictional rules. And it allows a court to refuse recognition of an order if it is manifestly incompatible with public policy.
  • The Convention requires treaty countries to provide free legal assistance in child support cases. As you know, Title IV-D agencies in the U.S. already provide such assistance. Now other Convention countries must provide cost-free services to U.S. residents.
  • The Convention provides standardized procedures and timeframes. Each Convention country must follow certain procedures to recognize and enforce child support orders. They must meet certain timeframes for allowing a challenge to an order and for providing status updates. Additionally, there are recommended standardized forms that will reduce the need for a country to request additional information.

Determine the Applicable Countries

In order to navigate international child support, it is crucial to determine which countries are involved in your specific situation. The Hague Convention on the International Recovery of Child Support and Other Forms of Family Maintenance was ratified by the United States Senate in 2010 and the treaty was signed in August of 2016.  The Hague Convention entered into full force in the Unites States on January 1, 2017, with 33 countries agreeing to work together to establish and enforce child support orders across international borders – since then, more countries have proceeded with the ratification process and are joining the effort. 

Central Authority Involvement

In navigating international child support cases under the Hague Convention, the involvement of the Central Authority is crucial. The Central Authority in your country is a key facilitator responsible for communication and coordination between the parties involved. They act as the vital link between the applicant and the Central Authority of the other participating country, streamlining the exchange of information and ensuring the smooth progress of the case.

One of the primary roles of the Central Authority is to assist in locating the obligor, the parent responsible for paying child support. They employ various mechanisms and resources to find the obligor. This includes:

  • Collaborating with relevant authorities.
  • Conducting investigations.
  • Utilizing international cooperation channels and more.

This process is essential to establish contact with the obligor and initiate legal proceedings. Additionally, the Central Authority aids in obtaining and transmitting relevant documents necessary to the case. These documents can include court orders, financial statements, and other evidence related to child support obligations. The Central Authority ensures that all necessary paperwork is prepared correctly and shared with the Central Authority of the other participating country. By doing so, they can maintain a clear and transparent flow of information.

Obtaining a Hague Child Support Convention Order

After locating the obligor, the Central Authority takes the necessary steps to initiate legal proceedings in the foreign country. They aim to obtain a child support order that outlines the amount and method of child support payments. This order must align with the laws of both the issuing and recipient countries to ensure its enforceability across borders.

Once the Central Authority has successfully obtained the child support order, they actively enforce it within the foreign country. To secure compliance, authorities can employ various enforcement measures, such as wage garnishment or intercepting tax refunds. Through these measures, the Central Authority ensures that the recipient receives the child support payments as directed by the order. By overseeing the entire process, the Central Authority plays a critical role in facilitating the effective transfer of financial support.

The U.S. Department of State can also help enforce International child Support by:

  1. Providing information through the Consular Affairs Internet home page;
  2. Denying passport services, except for direct return to the United States, to persons the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Office of Child Support Enforcement (HHS/ACF/OCSE) certifies as $2500 or more in arrears;
  3. Encouraging foreign countries to join the Hague Convention on the International Recovery of Child Support and Other Forms of Family Maintenance (Hague Child Support Convention); and
  4. Facilitating communication among parents, U.S. states, foreign countries, and other U.S. Government agencies on this important subject.

Finally, working alongside a trusted family law attorney who is highly experienced in international law and The Hague Convention is essential when dealing with international matters involving children. They can help you navigate this minefield and give practical, realistic advice on outcomes of your case.

Seeking Legal Assistance

Seeking legal assistance is crucial in effectively navigating international child support cases. When you partner with an experienced family law attorney, such as those at Masters Law Group, you gain the support needed to advocate for your interests and secure your child’s financial stability. Our attorneys will guide you through the process, ensuring that necessary adjustments to child support payments are made whenever necessary.

Erin Masters and Anthony Joseph have extensive experience in cases involving international child custody disputes in both courts located in the State of Illinois and the United States federal court system. By providing ongoing support that aligns with your family’s evolving needs, we help you safeguard your child’s well-being, even in situations across international borders. With the right legal help, you can confidently navigate the complexities of international child support and protect your child’s interests.

Final Thoughts

Navigating the complex landscape of international child support can be a challenging endeavor. The Hague Convention on Child Support offers a vital framework that empowers parents to obtain what is legally owed. At Masters Law Group, we understand the complexities involved in international child support matters. We are here to provide unwavering advocacy for you and your family. Our team will tirelessly work towards achieving the best possible outcome for your case.

If you have been denied child support from a parent overseas, we can help hold the delinquent parent accountable and guide you on this frightening journey every step of the way.

Contact us here today to set up a consultation. 

Understanding the Hague Convention: What U.S Families Need to Know

Understanding the Hague Convention is crucial for families across America facing international custody disputes.

International family law can be complex and challenging, especially concerning child custody disputes. The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, aka the Hague Convention, is an international treaty that protects children from parental abduction across international borders. In this blog, we will explore the critical aspects of the Hague Convention and what American families must know. 

What is the Hague Convention?

The Hague Convention is an international agreement that provides a legal framework for the prompt return of children who have been wrongfully removed or retained outside their home country. The convention guarantees that parents must return children involved in international custody cases to their habitual residence. This deters parents from attempting to relocate children across borders without the other parent’s consent or a court order.

The original Hague Conventions of 1899 and 1907 were massive, multi-part international treaties that established certain guidelines of international law, including rules of engagement that countries agreed to follow during times of war. In the decades since, many additional Hague conventions have taken place and the Hague Conference on Private International Law (HCCH) was established as a permanent organization with the goal of establishing and supporting a set of unified international laws.

Each section and installment of the Hague Conventions has been signed, ratified, and entered into force by a different selection of countries. As such, any list of “Hague countries” based upon a single convention would be suspect and inadequate. However, as of March 2022, the HCCH itself includes 91 permanent members: 90 countries (nearly all of which are also members of the United Nations) and the European Union itself, which is classified as a “Regional Economic Integration Organisation (REIO). HCCH also includes 65 “connected parties” which are not full members, but are either in the process of becoming a member or have signed, ratified or agreed to observe one or more HCCH Conventions (full list can be found here).

How does the Hague Convention work?

The left-behind parent can initiate legal proceedings for the child’s return when someone wrongfully removes or retains them in a Hague Convention country. The central authority in the country where the child is located, such as the U.S. Department of State’s Office of Children’s Issues, plays a crucial role in coordinating efforts to find the child and facilitate their return.

Under the Hague Convention, the child’s return is the primary objective, and the legal proceedings focus on determining the child’s habitual residence and whether their removal or retention violated the custody rights of the left-behind parent. The Hague Convention does not address custody or visitation rights issues but instead focuses on the prompt return of the child to their country of habitual residence. 

What should U.S-based families know?

The United States signed the Convention in 1994, and the Convention entered into force for the United States on April 1, 2008.

American families need to understand the importance of the Hague Convention when they find themselves involved in international custody disputes. If you find yourself in this situation, here are some tips you can follow.

  • Prompt action is crucial: If you believe your child has been wrongfully removed or retained in a Hague Convention country, it is essential to act promptly. Initiating legal proceedings increases the chances of a successful resolution.
  • Contact the central authority: In the United States, the Office of Children’s Issues within the U.S. Department of State serves as the foremost authority for Hague Convention matters. They can provide valuable information, resources, and assistance locating and returning your child.
  • Gather evidence: It is essential to gather evidence demonstrating your child’s habitual residence and the wrongful removal or retention. Documentation such as birth certificates, custody orders, and communication records can strengthen your case.
  • Consulting with a family law attorney: A family law attorney with experience in Hague law matters is highly recommended. They can guide you through the legal process and help you navigate the complexities of the Hague Convention.

It’s essential to prepare for challenges. International custody disputes can be emotionally demanding. Preparing for language barriers and cultural differences can also lengthen the process.

Working With A Hauge Attorney

Engaging a Hague attorney increases the likelihood of resolving your custody dispute efficiently and effectively. These attorneys deeply understand the Hague Convention and its application in the United States. They can guide you through the complex legal processes and advocate for your rights and interests. One of the primary advantages of working with a Hague attorney is their experience in mediation and negotiation. These methods aim to resolve custody disputes outside of court by facilitating constructive dialogue and finding mutually agreeable solutions.

At Masters Law Group, we understand the complexities involved in international custody disputes and the importance of finding a resolution that aligns with your objectives. Our attorneys will tirelessly advocate for your interests and work towards a favorable outcome. We prioritize open communication with our clients and strive to provide personalized attention to address your concerns and ensure you are well-informed throughout the legal process.

Final Thoughts

Understanding the Hague Convention is essential for families across America facing international custody disputes. Erin Masters and Anthony Joseph have extensive knowledge in handling cases involving international child custody disputes, representing clients in the United States federal court system.

To demonstrate our competence, here are a few recent Hague decisions we have successfully managed:

If you or someone you know is facing the distressing possibility of international parental child abduction, please do not hesitate to reach us.

Contact us today to schedule your complimentary consultation.

The Ultimate Guide to Understanding Hague Convention Law

International parental child abduction cases are fraught with complexity and emotional turmoil, presenting significant challenges for the families involved. The Hague Convention is a multilateral treaty that provides an expeditious method to return a child internationally abducted by a parent from one member country to another.

The Hague Convention is a treaty that many countries, including the United States, have joined.

The purposes of the Convention are to protect children from the harmful effects of international abduction by a parent by encouraging the prompt return of abducted children to their country of habitual residence and to organize or secure the effective rights of access to a child. The idea is that custody and visitation matters should generally be decided by the proper court in the country of the child’s habitual residence.

Here, we will delve into the fundamental aspects of the Hague Convention Law and the safeguards it provides for families.

Understanding the Hague Convention

The Hague Convention on Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction (“The Hague Convention”) was enacted into law through the International Child Abduction Remedies Act (“ICARA”), which provides that a parent whose child has been wrongfully removed from or retained in the United States may petition for the child’s return to his or her country of habitual residence.

What kinds of cases fall under the Hague Abduction Convention?

Filing a case under the Convention does not guarantee that your child will be returned. To obtain the return of your child through a Hague proceeding, you must first be able to demonstrate:

  • That your child was habitually resident in one Convention country, and was wrongfully removed to or retained in another Convention country;
  • The removal or retention of your child is considered wrongful if it was in violation of your custodial rights, and you were exercising those rights at the time of the removal or retention, or you would have been exercising them but for the removal or retention.
  • The Convention must have been in force between the two countries when the wrongful removal or retention occurred (the dates are different for every country); (Note: In many  instances, when a country accedes to the Convention, it is not automatically partners with all of the other countries who have ratified or acceded to the Convention.  Countries must accept another county’s accession to the Convention under the terms described in the Convention before a treaty partnership is created.
  • The child is under the age of 16.

By comprehending the various aspects of the Hague Convention, we can gain a deeper understanding of its significance and impact. Let’s delve into the different components of this essential international framework.

The Role of Central Authority

Each signatory country designates a Central Authority as a point of contact for international child abduction cases. The Central Authority is crucial in facilitating communication and cooperation between countries involved in resolving these cases. 

  • Communication: The Central Authority is a liaison between the left-behind parent and the foreign country where the child has been wrongfully removed or retained. They work closely with other countries to exchange information, coordinate legal proceedings, and ensure effective communication.
  • Receiving and Processing Applications: When a parent seeks the return of their child under the Hague Convention, they apply to their home country’s Central Authority. The Central Authority receives and processes these applications, verifying their completeness and compliance with the requirements of the Convention.
  • Initiating Legal Proceedings: Once the Central Authority receives a complete application, they initiate legal proceedings in the foreign country where the child is located. They work with the Central Authority of the foreign country to provide documentation to support the case for the child’s return.
  • Information and Guidance: The Central Authority helps parents through legal procedures and obligations under the Hague Convention, ensuring that parents are well-informed throughout the process.
  • International Cooperation: Central Authorities also engage in international cooperation to enhance the effectiveness of the Hague Convention. They participate in conferences, meetings, and training programs to exchange knowledge, share best practices, and strengthen the global network of Central Authorities.

Remember that the specific functions and procedures of the Central Authority may vary slightly between countries. To obtain accurate and country-specific information, it is essential to consult with your country’s Central Authority or a qualified attorney with experience in international child abduction cases.

The Return Process

The Hague Convention Law operates on several fundamental principles, prioritizing the child’s best interests throughout the decision-making process. The law emphasizes the importance of maintaining the child’s connection with both parents–unless it is not in the child’s best interests. In cases where a child has been wrongfully taken or retained in a foreign country, the Hague Law has a process for their return. The left-behind parent can apply with their Central Authority country, which will initiate legal proceedings in the country where the child is located.

While the Hague Law strongly advocates for the return of children, the abducting parent may raise defenses and exceptions. These situations can affect the child’s safety, significant psychological risks, or objection to being returned. The ultimate goal is ensuring the child’s safe return to their residence.

LEGAL ASSISTANCE AND REPRESENTATION

Parents involved in international child abduction cases should seek the assistance of an attorney experienced in the Hague Convention. These attorneys possess the necessary knowledge and experience to guide parents through the legal process and protect their rights. If you have concerns about the potential abduction of your child, it is crucial to take proactive measures to safeguard their well-being. An experienced Hague Convention lawyer can help. Your attorney may recommend several preventative measures, such as:

  1. Obtaining a custody order or parenting plan that clearly outlines each parent’s rights and responsibilities, including travel restrictions.
  2. Adding your child’s name to a watchlist to prevent unauthorized removal from the country.
  3. Obtaining a court order requires surrendering your child’s passport or imposing restrictions on international travel.
  4. Collaborating with your child’s school or daycare to establish security measures and emergency protocols.

If you have concerns about parental child abduction, promptly contacting your family law attorney is crucial. They will discuss your options with you and assist in developing a plan that prioritizes your child’s safety.

Final Thoughts

Senior attorneys Erin Masters and Anthony Joseph have extensive experience in cases involving international child custody disputes in both courts located in the State of Illinois and the United States federal court system. With our firm’s vast experience, you can trust that we will tirelessly advocate on your behalf, working diligently to achieve the best possible outcome for you and your child/children.

To showcase our competence, here are some important recent Hague decisions we have successfully handled:

If you or a loved one is facing the distressing possibility of international parental child abduction, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Take the first step by scheduling your complimentary consultation with us today.

 

The Hague Convention and National Missing Children’s Day: A Call to Action

May 25 is National Missing Children’s Day, dedicated to raising awareness of child safety and preventing child abductions; Including International Parental Child Abduction. 

As parents, guardians, and concerned individuals, it is crucial to prioritize the safety and well-being of children.

Unfortunately, parental child abductions still occur, and one of the most painful scenarios is international parental child abduction. It can be a frightening experience for both the child and the left-behind parent. In this blog, we will discuss what you need to know if you face this alarming situation. Here’s what you need to know.

NATIONAL MISSING CHILDREN’S DAY

Every year, the Department of Justice commemorates Missing Children’s Day by honoring the heroic and exemplary efforts of agencies, organizations, and individuals to protect children. President Ronald Regan proclaimed National Missing Children’s Day on May 25, 1983. The day honors Etan Patz, a 6-year-old boy who disappeared in New York City on May 25, 1979.

UNDERSTANDING THE HAGUE CONVENTION

The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction is the leading international agreement that covers international parental child abduction. It provides a process through which a parent can seek to have their child returned to their home country.

Click here to see the participating countries of the treaty.  Generally, the Hague Convention mandates that a child abducted in violation of the other parent’s “rights of custody” must be returned to the child’s country of habitual residence unless particular exceptions/defenses apply.

The Hague Convention also deals with issues of international child access. When a parent or guardian lives in a different country to the home country of their child, it may be hard to work out access to them. In 1994, the United States became a signatory to the Convention, which officially went into effect for the U.S. on April 1, 2008.

BECOME AWARE OF Parental CHILD ABDUCTION

Raising awareness is crucial in preventing the devastating effects of parental child abduction. Family members can often be the perpetrators, as they may believe they know what is best for the child. Young children are particularly vulnerable targets as they may not know how to seek help or alert others if their parent takes them.

It is essential to be mindful of warning signs and factors that may increase the likelihood of parental child abduction. Some of these include:

  • A parent with no source of income/job.
  • A financially independent parent.
  • A parent with no real ties to the community they live in.
  • A parent who abruptly quits their job sells their home and applies for passports.
  • A parent who starts collecting the child’s medical and school records.
  • A parent who has domestic violence and child abuse history.

Some additional steps to lower the risk of parental abduction or increase your odds of recovering your child if they are abducted would be:

  • Have up-to-date pictures of your child.
  • Fingerprints of your child.
  • Have a written detailed description of your child, including height, weight, hair color, eye color, birthmarks, and noticeable physical characteristics.
  • Copies of your child’s Social Security card and passport.
  • Register your child with the Children’s Passport Issuance Alert Program (CPIAP).

HOW TO KEEP CHILDREN SAFE

There are several steps we can take to help keep our children safe. Having a solid custody (now called “Parental Responsibilities“) and visitation plan in place is also essential. If a custody or visitation issue arises, it’s crucial to report it to the appropriate authorities right away, such as state or local law enforcement or a state judicial officer. This can help establish accountability and speed up the case.

Along with the Department of State’s Office of Children’s Issues, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) can also be contacted at www.missingkids.org. NCMEC works closely with the State Department and the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office for Victims of Crime and administers its Victim Reunification Travel Program. Eligible parents can request financial assistance to help them reunite with a child in another country. By taking these steps and working together, we can help ensure the safety and well-being of all children.

Finally, hiring a knowledgeable attorney highly experienced in Hague Convention cases can be invaluable.

How Masters Law Group Can Help

International custody disputes are almost always extremely complex and delicate situations, and you should not attempt to navigate them without the assistance of a knowledgeable and experienced attorney.  Serving clients in Cook County and DuPage County Illinois, Erin Masters and Anthony Joseph have extensive experience in cases involving international child custody disputes in both courts located in the State of Illinois and the United States federal court system.

FINAL THOUGHTS

National Missing Children’s Day reminds us of our ongoing efforts to reunite missing children with their families. One significant step towards this goal is for the U.S. and other countries to participate in the Hague Convention, which enables the negotiation of treaties to streamline international justice.

When dealing with international child custody/abduction cases, it’s essential to have the support of a knowledgeable family law attorney who understands the intricacies of the international legal system. With our guidance, you can navigate the complex legal processes involved in The Hague Convention and work toward a fast resolution, prioritizing the child’s well-being.

For more information on our featured Hague decisions, see here:

Contact us here today to learn more.

What is The Hague Convention? (INTERNATIONAL CHILD ABDUCTION)

The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction provides an expeditious method to return a child internationally abducted by a parent from one member country to another. The powerful international treaty can yield beneficial results when implemented correctly and appropriately.

The Hague Convention has been in the headlines recently regarding the war with Russia and Ukraine. This has left many across the globe asking, “What is the Hague Convention?”.

The Hague Convention on Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction (“The Hague Convention”) was enacted into law through the International Child Abduction Remedies Act (“ICARA”), which provides that a parent whose child has been wrongfully removed from or retained in the United States may petition for the child’s return to his or her country of habitual residence.

The International Criminal Court in the Hague has issued an arrest warrant against Russian President Vladimir Putin. It accuses him of being responsible for war crimes in Ukraine, including the unlawful deportation of children. Russia’s Commissioner for Children’s Rights, Ms Maria Lvova-Belova, is also subject to an arrest warrant.

According to Ukraine, tens of thousands of possible war crimes have been carried out by Russian forces since they invaded Ukraine in February last year. The Hague Convention doesn’t just apply to war crimes; it also affects everyday civilians across the globe when their child has been wrongfully removed from their habitual residence.

Divorce and The Hague Convention

When parents divorce, deciding how to handle issues regarding their children can be intense. When parents originate from separate countries, these disputes can quickly become complicated, especially when one parent attempts to move children across international borders.

When this happens, you need a Hauge lawyer who is highly experienced in international law. They understand how to settle matters of jurisdiction involving courts in the United States and other countries across the globe (if these nations are a part of the convention).

The Hague Convention’s applicability can be determined by two factors:

(1) whether both parents have consented to their child’s removal from one country to another; or

(2) if a child has been wrongfully removed from one country and brought into another country without either parent’s consent.

Hauge Law is created in order to protect you and your family both nationally and internationally.

INITIATING THE PROCESS

Deciding whether to file a Hague application is an important decision and must be considered based on each case’s specific circumstances. Perhaps after separating from their partner, a parent wants to take their child and move to another country. Maybe a parent moved internationally in violation of a custody agreement.

Filing a case under the Convention does not guarantee that your child will be returned. To obtain the return of your child through a Hague proceeding, you must first be able to demonstrate the following:

  • That your child was habitually resident in one Convention country and was wrongfully removed to or retained in another Convention country;
  • The removal or retention of your child is considered wrongful if it was in violation of your custodial rights, and you were exercising those rights at the time of the removal or retention, or you would have been exercising them but for the removal or retention.
  • The Convention must have been in force between the two countries when the wrongful removal or retention occurred (the dates are different for every country); (Note: In many instances, when a country accedes to the Convention, it is not automatically partners with all of the other countries who have ratified or acceded to the Convention.  Countries must accept another country’s accession to the Convention under the terms described in the Convention before a treaty partnership is created.
  • The child is under the age of 16.

WHY CHOOSE MASTERS LAW GROUP?

International custody issues can be incredibly difficult to deal with as a parent because of the concern you have for the safety and security of your child, and should be handled properly by a knowledgeable attorney.

Erin Masters and Anthony Joseph have extensive experience in cases involving international child custody disputes and kidnapping in both courts located in the State of Illinois and the United States federal court system.

Read the details of our most recent successful Hague Convention cases below. Furthermore, see what our clients have to say on representing their Hague Convention on Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction case:

 

I had a very difficult case in the United States Federal Court. My ex husband filed a Petition against me under the Hague Convention on Civil Aspects of International Child abduction asking to return our two sons to Lithuania. Seeking for the legal representation, I was advised by the U.S. Department of State to contact lawyer Erin E. Masters. I was so lucky to have the team of the best lawyers Erin E. Masters and Anthony G. Joseph representing me in this difficult trial.

They represented with the highest standards of law, but also provided support and empathy through the process. The communication was fantastic, always answered every question, explained every situation and possible outcome. As it was a very fast track case, Erin and Anthony worked hard including weekends to prepare everything for the hearing. There was only one hearing and the Decision was totally in my favor. All my family, especially the kids, are very grateful! It is also fair to mention that the legal expenses for the amount of services provided was very very reasonable.

I will gladly recommend Erin Masters and Anthony Joseph to represent any of my friends and family in need of an excellent and highly professional family attorney.

— Aistė Šulcaitė

FINAL THOUGHTS

Instead of trying to figure out international law issues alone, contact the Family Law Attorneys at Masters Law Group. Serving clients in Cook County and DuPage County Illinois, our experienced team will help you navigate the legal complexities of your case and are committed to vigorously representing you in these frightening, high-stakes proceedings.

Contact us to schedule your consultation here today. 

Featured Hague Decisions: