Every year, children are wrongfully removed from the United States or retained outside of the U.S. in violation of parental custody rights. Whether trying to identify risk factors or your child/children have been removed from their habitual residence, knowing your legal options through The Hague Convention could prove detrimental in protecting victims involved.
When Illinois courts determine custody arrangements, they ultimately consider the best interests of the child/children involved. However, what are often relatively simple custody matters can quickly become complicated when one parent moves out of the state or out of the country. Especially unlawfully.
If you need legal representation to protect your rights or the rights of your child, we can help. At our downtown Chicago law office, we represent parents and children in a variety of complex international custody disputes. Here’s what you need to know.
Negotiating International Child Custody Disputes
Parents who wish to move out of the country may do so by seeking a custody modification just as they would if they were moving out of state. Complications arise when a parent moves out of the country before a custody order is finalized or when a parent does so in violation of an existing order. When a parent moves out of the country in direct violation of a custody order, he or she is committing international parental 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 that can yield beneficial results when it is implemented correctly and appropriately.
The Hague Convention
Many countries subscribe to the Hague Convention, which facilitates reciprocal agreements when it comes to custody. Although the Hague Convention does not ultimately decide custody cases, it does determine which jurisdiction or which country should hear the case. Generally, this is where the child had established familiar roots before his or her removal or abduction or, as the Convention calls it, the child’s “habitual residence.”
Because many countries do not have formalized laws regarding international child abductions and because there are so many variables involved with each case (such as whether or not both parents want custody), there are no hard-and-fast rules for international child abduction cases. Each situation must be evaluated on its own merits and in light of that particular nation’s laws and regulations regarding custody matters.
International parental abductions of U.S. children have been reported in countries all over the world, including Australia, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Germany, India, Japan, Mexico, Philippines, and the United Kingdom. A parent who is left behind when a child is abducted to another country faces daunting obstacles to finding and recovering the child.
A History of Success Serving Clients In Illinois and Internationally
Masters Law Group has extensive knowledge and experience with The Hague Convention 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.
Our clients span across the entire United States, from Washington to Wisconsin; so you can rest assured knowing the experienced Masters Law Group attorneys are fighting for you and your family. Our attorneys understand the laws in these highly sensitive cases. Their priority is to ensure the kids return to safety and that they have the opportunity to exert their rights and obtain justice.
Here are just a few of our featured Huage Cases:
- Sulcaite, Memorandum Opinion and Order
- Ho, Memorandum Opinion and Order
- Hinnendael, Decision and Order
How Our Firm Can Help
If you are in need of an international child abduction lawyer, we can help. The legal system is a complicated and confusing place. That’s why we’re here—to make sure that you understand your rights and options, so that you can make the best possible decisions for your family.
We can represent you if:
- You live in the United States and your child has been abducted into a foreign country.
- You live anywhere in the world and your child has been abducted into the United States.
- You have been accused of international child abduction and need a lawyer to protect your parental rights.
We will carefully examine the facts to determine the strength of your case. We will give you straightforward advice so that you know exactly where you stand in the eyes of the law.
To learn more about your options, contact us to schedule a one-on-one appointment with our experienced lawyers, Erin E. Masters and Anthony G. Joseph. We understand that your children are your top priority. We will work aggressively to advocate on their behalf.
Contact Masters Law Group Today
Illinois is a community property state, which means that all of the marital property is divided equally between the spouses. This can have a significant impact on child custody arrangements, especially if one spouse intends to leave the state or country.
If you have found yourself in a situation where your former spouse has unlawfully fled the country with your child, you should contact your attorney right away. At Masters Law Group, we can handle the process of contacting domestic and international governments to ensure that your rights are being protected.
Our attorneys have extensive knowledge and experience with The Hague Convention on Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction (“The Hague Convention”) that was enacted into law through the International Child Abduction Remedies Act (“ICARA”). Our experienced attorneys will provide you with detail-oriented representation as each case is unique. Contact our Chicago office to schedule a consultation today.