Tag Archive for: California Hague Convention


In one of our most recent Hague Convention cases, a child was wrongly removed from his residing home in Cyprus and taken to the United States. The attorneys at Masters Law Group succeeded in this landmark ruling in favor of our client.

The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction is a crucial treaty that provides a legal framework for resolving cases of international child abduction. This convention aims to ensure the prompt return of children who have been wrongfully removed or retained from their country of habitual residence.

However, navigating these complex cases can be challenging, especially without the proper legal representation. At Masters Law Group, our team of Hague-experienced attorneys understands the intricacies of this International law treaty and can provide comprehensive support to families facing international child abduction matters.

In this recent case, the husband – represented by Masters Law Group –  filed a petition for the return of his child who was taken from his residence in Cyprus to the United States by his wife – the mother of the child.  The Hague Convention provides that a parent whose child has been wrongfully removed or retained in the United States may petition for the child’s return to his or her country of habitual residence.


The ex-husband filed a petition for the return of his child, a 12 year-old who was visiting his mother in the state of California. This case arises under the International Child Abduction Remedies Act. 22 U.S.C. § 9001 et seq., which implements the Hague Convention on Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. The Act entitles a person whose child has been wrongfully removed from his custody in another country and taken to the United States to petition in federal or state court for the return of the child.

In December 2022, the court held a five-day bench trial. The parties had stipulated that the 12-year old had been wrongfully retained under the convention. The trial focused on two affirmative defenses which were ‘grave risk’ and ‘mature child’ defenses.


In this case, the child had lived most of his life in Cyprus. His father had full custody of him since his parents’ separation in 2014. Last summer of 2022, the minor came to the United States for a six-week visit with his mother in California. At the end of the visit, his father came to collect his son but was unsuccessful. The 12-year old has autism and had become determined not to return to Cyprus. Furthermore, his mother refused to turn him over when she was legally obliged to.

Nearly one week after the scheduled meet up went awry, the father filed a Hague Convention petition. The Court observed the 12-year old in chambers, where he answered questions from the Court and counsel for both sides without his parents present. The 12-year old was understandably subdued, but he was composed and calm through several hours of questions from strangers. That time observing the child, (after having had the benefit of testimony and reports from the experts) confirmed that he is on the Autism spectrum.


Both the United States and Cyprus are signatories to the Hague Convention. It is implemented in the United States by the International Child Abduction Remedies Act. 22 U.S.C. §§ 9001 et seq. District courts have concurrent original jurisdiction over actions brought under ICARA. § 9003(a)–(b).

In adjudicating a petition under the Hague Convention, a court may only decide whether the child should be returned to their country of habitual residence. Both the treaty and the statute explicitly preclude courts from making a final custody determination.

The question at hand was where any further custody dispute over the child should play out, not whether living in one country or the other, or with one parent or the other, would be in his best interests.

Both parties agreed that Cyprus was his country of habitual residence at that time; and that the ex-husband was exercising his custody rights as entered by a Cypriot court. Dkt. No. 42. 

The final part of the Convention’s grave-risk exception states that a Court may decline to return a child if it would place the child in an “intolerable situation.” Convention art. 13(b). Exactly what beyond physical or psychological harm would constitute an “intolerable situation” is unclear. It was concluded the child’s life in Cyprus with his father was not intolerable.


In summary, the court granted the petition and ordered the child to return to Cyprus in the custody of his father. In addition, the Court will not impose a longer stay without agreement from both sides. As the Court is ordering the return of a child pursuant to an action under 22 U.S.C. § 9003, it is required to order the respondent to pay necessary expenses incurred by the petitioner—including legal fees and transportation costs related to the return of the child—unless the respondent establishes that such order would be clearly inappropriate. § 9007(b)(3).



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.

Erin Masters and Anthony Joseph 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”) 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.


If you are faced with instituting or defending child abduction proceedings under the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction involving the United States, work with the experienced lawyers at Masters Law Group. Contact us here today to schedule a consultation.

Hague Convention – International Child Abduction California

International Parental Child Abduction is on the rise. Here’s what you need to know.

International child abduction cases can be extremely difficult and delicate situations. The Hague Convention was enacted into law to help parents whose child has been wrongfully removed from or retained from their custody by enabling them to petition for the child’s return to their country of habitual residence. Navigating this law can be tricky and if you’re in a situation where the Hague Convention is applicable, it’s important to have an attorney that’s highly experienced in international law.

Luckily, the award-winning attorneys at Masters Law Group have successfully represented clients in such cases across the country and globe; including cases involving families in Washington State, California and internationally in New Zealand, but to name a few. If you need help with an international child abduction case, we can help.

Here’s everything you need to know about the Hague Convention and International Child Abduction California. 

History of The Hague Convention

The Hague Convention is essentially a treaty that a number of countries joined starting in 1983. The purpose of the Convention is to protect children from the harmful effects of international abduction by a parent by encouraging the quick return of the child to their country of habitual residence. Additionally it helps to organize and secure the effective rights of access to a child.

Hague Convention Framework

The Hague Convention framework was created to help countries find solutions for challenging custody cases where a child has been abducted. There are a number of instances where this can occur, but the most common is when a child is wrongfully removed from their habitual home and taken to a foreign country

When a parent’s custody rights are violated, a custody order is not needed to prove parental parenthood. Additionally, a child being returned to their place of habitual residence does not depend on the immigration status or nationality of the child or their parents. 

When an international abduction happens, the Central Authority are responsible for the following: 

  • Being the point of contact for the parents and children in the international child abduction case.
  • Help locate the child. 
  • Encourage a solution that favors both parents.
  • Submit documents as part of the application that are admissible in courts in both countries.

What’s Needed to File a Convention Case California

Filing a case under the Hague Convention doesn’t immediately guarantee the return of a child. First, the following must be demonstrated:

  1. The child was habitually residing in one Convention country and was wrongfully removed or retained to another.
  2. The removal or retention was considered wrongful if it was in violation of custodial rights and those rights were being exercised at the time of removal or retention.
  3. The Convention was in force between the two countries at the time of wrongful removal or retention.
  4. The child is under 16 years of age.

Hiring a Hague Convention Lawyer 

With the difficulty of international child abduction and Hague Convention cases, it’s essential to hire an attorney with extensive international law experience. At Masters Law Group, we are highly experienced in international and family law matters. Our goal is to make the legal system easier to navigate for our clients. We will make sure you clearly understand the legal situation and your rights so you can make the best decisions for you and your family. 

Instead of trying to navigate international law issues alone, take advantage of the experience and knowledge of our attorneys at Masters Law Group. We are committed to vigorously representing you in these high-stakes proceedings. 

Contact us to schedule your consultation here today.