Asides from extreme vigilance, there are steps you can take to help prevent International Parental Child Abduction, and there are steps to take if you or your family have fallen victim to these high-stakes legal issues.
International child custody and parental abduction issues can be both complex and costly to resolve. Unfortunately, parents without global connections can increase the risk of the other parent removing the child to another country without their consent. This is where we come in.
Whether the child is only a few miles south or north of the border or across the globe, parents need to understand how to prevent international parental child abduction from happening. Here’s what you need to know in order to protect you and your family in 2023.
How International Child Abduction Occurs
There are several scenarios where parental abduction can happen. One of the most popular scenarios is when one parent without advance agreement, leaves for another country with their children. Regardless of the situation, you must know your rights as a parent involved within an international family.
As an international family, you may have a lot of trust in your partner. If you are part of an international family, you may believe that your partner would never remove your child to another country without your permission. Unfortunately, circumstances can change. It is important for international and multicultural families to anticipate the possibility of a child being removed or kept from their home country, and learn how to take measures to prevent it.
How To Help Prevent International Parental Child Abduction
As a parent experiencing this frightening situation, your first line of defense is to have a clearly documented parenting plan in place. This plan should clearly define the child’s home state. In Illinois, child custody laws will typically fall in favor of what’s best in the interests of the child. A parenting plan will usually recognize the following:
- The continuity of the parent-child relationship typically is in the child’s best interest.
- The needs of children change and grow as they mature.
- Custodial parents make daily decisions (including emergencies) while the child is with that particular parent.
- Both parents are to have access to a child’s official records.
By having a parenting plan in place it will give you and your child an added layer of protection should they be abducted in the future. However, it’s always best to consult an experienced family law attorney regarding effective travel consent letters and their limitations.
Hague Law and Responding to International Child Custody Issues
If you’re a parent in the U.S. who has had their child taken across border lines, it’s important to know that there are laws in place that can help you get your child back.
The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction is the main 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.
A number of countries around the globe have joined a treaty called the Hague Convention. This multilateral treaty was developed by the Hague Conference on Private International Law (HCCH) and concluded on October 25, 1980, entering into force on December 1, 1983.
According to the Convention, the removal or retention of a child is “wrongful” whenever it breaches custody rights attributed to a person or any other body. If, at the time of removal or retention, those rights were exercised.
Even if a parent already has legal custody of a child, such as in an uncontested divorce case where one parent has sole legal custody and primary physical custody prior to abduction by another parent; The Hague Convention applies because it supersedes any conflicting state law.
If you have fallen victim to international child abduction, it’s important to know what resources are available. At Masters Law Group, our team of knowledgeable and highy experienced attorneys are here to help you through this process.
Our 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.