Tag Archive for: DuPage County Hague Convention Attorney

Hague Convention Attorneys in Action

At Masters Law Group, our Hague Convention attorneys have extensive experience handling complex international disputes.

Navigating international family law can be complex and challenging, especially when it comes to child abduction 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. This blog will highlight rulings demonstrating the Convention’s effectiveness in resolving cross-border disputes.

Join us as we explore the legal framework, showing how it translates into real-world victories and how our Hague Convention attorneys can assist you. Here’s what you need to know.

UNDERSTANDING 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”). It provides that a parent whose child has been wrongfully removed from the U.S. can petition for the child’s return to their country of habitual residence. Each country appoints central authorities to help resolve these disputes. As of 2024, there are 91 countries involved in the Hague Convention.

Families need to understand the importance of the Hague Convention when they find themselves involved in international disputes. Here are some tips to follow if you find yourself in this situation:

  • 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 is the foremost authority for Hague Convention matters. They can provide 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 and communication records can strengthen your case.
  • Consulting with a family law attorney: A family law attorney with experience in Hague law is recommended. They can guide you through the legal process and help you navigate the complexities of the Hague Convention.

Dealing with international disputes can be emotionally demanding, so preparing for the challenges is essential. Working with a Hague Convention attorney can provide valuable support. Now, let’s explore some recent Hague Convention cases to see how these principles are applied in real-world situations.

CASE 1: DISTRICT OF COLORADO / COLOMBIA: AGUIRRE

In our most recent case that concluded on February 20, 2024, the husband – represented by Masters Law Group –  filed a petition to return his two children. His children were taken from his residence in Colombia to the United States by their mother. The parties were married in the United States in 2012 and lived together in Colombia. 

The Respondent took the children to the U.S. for a family reunion but faced delays in their passport renewal. This case arises under the International Child Abduction Remedies Act (ICARA), 42 U.S.C. § 11601 et seq., which implements the Hague Convention on Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction.

This Act allows a person whose child has been 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. The court would later find in favor of the Petitioner, concluding that the Respondent wrongfully retained the children and dismissing her claim of grave risk of harm. The Petitioner’s request for the return of the children to Colombia is granted.

CASE 2: EASTERN DISTRICT OF WISCONSIN / MEXICO: HINNENDAEL

In the Eastern District of Wisconsin / Mexico, Hinnendael, the father of the children (Petitioner), sought to relocate his children back to the United States from Mexico against the other parent’s wishes.

The court found that returning the children would subject them to a grave risk of psychological harm or otherwise place them in an intolerable situation. Accordingly, the retention of children in the United States was not wrongful within the meaning of the Convention. The petition was denied, and this action was dismissed.

By invoking the Hague Convention, our attorneys successfully advocated for the children. This case helps highlight the effectiveness of the Hague Law in resolving child abduction cases and prioritizing the children’s welfare.

CASE 3: NORTHERN DISTRICT OF ILLINOIS / NEW ZEALAND: H.O.

In the Northern District of Illinois / New Zealand, Ho, the husband – represented by our firm –  filed a petition for the return of his child. The child was taken from his residence in New Zealand to the United States by his wife – the mother of the child. As relevant here, 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 their country of habitual residence.

By agreement of the parties and as required by the Convention, the court concludes that the child was a habitual resident of New Zealand at the time of the wrongful retention in the United States. The Petitioner exercised parental responsibility rights under New Zealand law, and this case did not establish the “grave risk” exception.

The court granted the petition for the child’s return to New Zealand and allowed an approximate one-week period to avoid any abrupt transition for the child. This case demonstrated the Hague Law’s role in helping ensure fairness, predictability, and respect for due process in international child abduction cases.

CASE 4:NORTHERN DISTRICT OF ILLINOIS / LITHUANIA: SULCAITE

In the Northern District of Illinois / Lithuania, Sulcaite Masters Law Group helped resolve the wrongful removal of children. The courts considered the parents’ last shared intent to their child’s country of residence.

The Respondent and the Petitioner agreed that their children would reside in Chicago temporarily. After three years, they were to return to Lithuania, their country of origin.

However, as time passed, the children became acclimated to their new life in the United States. Their mother’s remarriage and new baby created a strong family bond, and Chicago gradually became their familiar home. Considering these factors, the court denied the Petitioner for the children’s return. The decision reflected a recognition of the children’s well-being and stability, prioritizing their best interests.

This case showcases the effective advocacy of our Hague Convention attorneys in navigating complex international disputes. The legal team successfully obtained a favorable outcome for the parties involved by presenting compelling evidence.

CASE 5: NORTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA / CYPRUS: EFTHYMIOU V. LABONTE

In the Northern District of California / Cyprus, the husband – represented by Masters Law Group –  filed a petition to return his child, who was taken from Cyprus to the United States by his wife – the child’s mother. The child’s father (Petitioner) had full parental rights to the child since his parents’ separation in 2014. The minor came to the United States for a six-week visit with his mother (Respondent) in California. At the end of the visit, the Petitioner came to collect his son but was unsuccessful.

Nearly one week after the scheduled meet-up went awry, the child’s father filed a Hague Convention plea. The court granted the petition and ordered the child to return to Cyprus in the custody of his father. In addition, the court did not impose a longer stay without agreement from both sides. The court ultimately ordered the return of a child under an action under U.S.C.S.C. § 9003.

These cases showcase our commitment to navigating international child abduction disputes and achieving favorable outcomes for our clients.

WORK WITH OUR HAGUE CONVENTION ATTORNEYS

The Hague Convention continues to play a pivotal role in reuniting families affected by parental child abduction. At Masters Law Group, we understand the complexities of international child abduction disputes and the importance of finding a resolution that aligns with your objectives.

Our Hague Convention 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.

To learn more about how we can help you, schedule your complimentary consultation today.

Every Parent’s Nightmare: International Parental Child Abduction

The thought of coming home from a long and hard day at the office only to discover that the unthinkable has happened – your foreign-born spouse has left the country and taken your child with them – is a devastating reality for a rising number of parents across the globe. If you are facing such a high-stakes and frightening scenario, here’s what you should know.

In this blog, we will explore five important pieces of information that help shed light on the legal, emotional, and practical aspects. Additionally, we’ll discuss how a child abduction attorney can be a lifeline in these challenging circumstances, offering advice and support throughout the process. 

1. Understanding International Parental Child Abduction

International parental child abduction occurs when one parent unlawfully takes their child from the other parent, often without legal authorization or against the court’s custody order. This act can lead to serious legal repercussions for the abducting parent. It’s crucial to recognize that parental child abduction constitutes a violation of both state and federal laws in many countries. 

There’s a common misconception that parental child abductions are less harmful because the child is with a parent or family member. However, legal systems typically view parental child abduction seriously, imposing consequences such as criminal charges, fines, and imprisonment for the abducting parent. Efforts are made to prioritize the child’s best interests and help ensure their safety in such circumstances.

2. Understanding its Impact on Families

According to the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, 230,600* children are kidnapped by a family member each year. Several factors may contribute to international parental child abduction, including parental responsibility disputes, domestic violence, fear of losing access to the child, or cultural differences regarding parental rights. Abductions can occur during or after divorce or separation, and the motivations can vary widely depending on the specific circumstances of each case.

When a child is taken, the emotional and psychological toll on them is profound. The sudden separation from one parent and the uncertainty of their well-being can lead to severe distress, affecting the child’s well-being and development for years to come. The abducting parent may face serious legal consequences, including criminal charges, fines, and the possibility of imprisonment. Moreover, their actions could significantly diminish their chances of obtaining parental responsibilities in future court proceedings. If you find yourself in this situation, getting help from a child abduction attorney can help you protect your child’s best interests.

3. Navigating International Parental Child Abduction Procedures

Being familiar with the legal procedures related to international parental child abduction is crucial for taking swift action. The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction is a key framework in addressing these cases.

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 their country of habitual residence. This treaty involves over 91 countries and has designated Central Authorities from member countries to facilitate communication between nations handling abduction cases.

Child abduction attorneys with experience in international family law serve as valuable resources when navigating the Hague Convention. They can guide parents through the complexities of these procedures and help advocate for their children’s best interests.

4. Preventing Parental Child Abduction

Despite the existence of international treaties such as the Hague Convention, resolving cases of international parental child abduction can be challenging due to differing legal systems and varying interpretations of parental responsibilities. Some countries may not be part of the Hague Convention, making the recovery of abducted children more complex. Parents can take proactive steps to reduce the risk of abduction:

  • Establish a Parenting Plan: Without a parenting plan, no official documentation exists specifying where a child should be at any given time. This legal void can lead to situations where parents can, without repercussion, abandon their children or take them away without the explicit consent of the other parent, especially across international borders.
  • Document Parenting Arrangements: Keeping detailed records of parenting schedules can help resolve disputes and prevent the unauthorized removal of the child.
  • Establish Clear Communication: Maintain open and constructive communication with the other parent. Agree on communication methods and regular updates about the child’s well-being to foster trust and reduce conflict.

Consult a child abduction attorney to navigate complex legal situations across different jurisdictions. By taking proactive measures and staying informed, parents can significantly lower the risk of international parental child abduction and protect their children’s well-being.

5. How a Child Abduction Attorney Can Help

A child abduction attorney can be extremely helpful in cases involving the abduction of a child/children by one parent. When you partner with an experienced attorney, such as those at Masters Law Group, you gain the support needed to advocate for your family’s best interests. Here are some of the ways they can help:

Child abduction attorneys understand the emotional toll these cases can take on parents and children. With their help, you can better navigate the legal system and work toward a resolution protecting your family’s well-being.

Last Thoughts

International parental child abduction is a distressing reality faced by many families globally. The Hague Convention can be valuable for resolving abduction cases involving international borders and prioritizing their well-being. If you or someone you know is affected by this issue, seeking legal assistance and support is advised to navigate this area of international family law effectively. 

At Masters Law Group, our team of knowledgeable attorneys is here to help you through this process. Erin Masters and Anthony Joseph have extensive experience in cases involving international parental disputes in courts located in the State of Illinois and the United States federal court system. 

To learn more about our featured Hague Convention Decisions, see here:

Contact us today to schedule a consultation.

Demystifying the Hague Convention: Essential FAQs Answered

The nightmare of having your child taken across borders is a frightening reality for a growing number of parents across the globe. Under the Hague Convention, solutions are provided for parents who seek the return of their child to their country of habitual residence.

International Parental Child Abduction is an act of illegally taking a child from their residing home by one of the parents across international borders. If you suspect the possible scenario of International Parental Child Abduction in your family, here are some questions and answers that can provide valuable insight.

1. What is the Hague Convention?

The Hague Convention was enacted into law through the International Child Abduction Remedies Act (ICARA). This law provides help to parents whose child or children have been wrongfully removed from or retained in their custody. They may petition for the child’s return to their country of habitual residence.

This Hague 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 help ensure 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.

2. What Is “Wrongful Removal” Under The Hague Convention?

Deciding whether to file a Hague application is a big decision. It depends on the specific circumstances of each case. A wrongful removal or retention of a child is considered illegal if it violates your custodial rights and you were exercising those rights at the time of the removal or retention.

In order for the Hague Convention to apply, it must have been in force between the two countries when the wrongful removal occurred. When a country joins the Convention, it doesn’t automatically partner with all countries that have ratified or joined it. Instead, countries must accept another country’s accession to the Convention before forming a treaty partnership.

3. How Can A Hague Lawyer Help?

A Hague Convention lawyer has experience handling cases related to international child abduction and custody disputes governed by the Hague Convention. They possess in-depth knowledge of the Convention’s provisions, procedures, and legal precedents, enabling them to navigate the complexities of your case effectively. Here’s how a Hague lawyer can assist you:

  • International Legal Aid: Hague lawyers often have established networks of lawyers and resources worldwide, facilitating communication and collaboration across international borders.
  • Negotiation and Mediation: A Hague lawyer can represent your interests during negotiations. Reaching an amicable resolution through negotiation or mediation is preferable to lengthy court proceedings.
  • Court Representation: If your case proceeds to court, your Hague lawyer will advocate on your behalf, presenting compelling arguments and evidence to support your child’s return to their country of habitual residence.

4. How Long Is The Hague Convention Process?

Contrary to common belief, the Hague Convention doesn’t guarantee the automatic return of a child in every case. While it provides a legal framework for facilitating such returns, various circumstances, defenses, and exceptions may complicate matters. Some cases can be resolved relatively quickly, within weeks or months.

While others may drag on longer, especially if they involve complex legal proceedings or appeals, one exception is when there are genuine concerns about the child’s safety or well-being. In such cases, the Hague Convention prioritizes the child’s welfare and safety. Working with a Hague lawyer can help you understand what steps to take to get the swift and safe return of your child.

5. What Steps Should I Take If My Child Has Been Wrongfully Taken?

Discovering that your child has been wrongfully taken across borders is a harrowing experience. Acting swiftly and decisively is crucial if you are in this unfortunate situation. Here are essential steps to consider as you navigate this distressing ordeal:

  • Consult with a Hague Lawyer: Seek legal advice from a Hague Convention lawyer. They can assess your case and guide you through the legal process.
  • File a Hague Application: Depending on your country of residence, you may need to apply the Hague Convention through the appropriate central authority. Your lawyer can assist you with completing and submitting the necessary documentation.
  • Gather Evidence: Collect evidence supporting your claim. This includes documentation of your custody rights, evidence of the child’s habitual residence, and communication with the other party regarding the abduction.
  • Cooperate with Authorities: Work closely with law enforcement, central authorities, and Hague lawyers involved in your case. Provide them with any requested information or assistance to facilitate the prompt resolution.

Finding Legal Representation

Selecting a Hague lawyer familiar with state, federal, and international laws is crucial. Masters Law Group attorneys Erin Masters and Anthony Joseph have years of experience handling Hague Convention cases. Our experience in the Hague Convention field shows our competence in providing legal counsel for these stressful scenarios.

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

Contact our office today to schedule your consultation.

MASTERS LAW GROUP HAGUE CONVENTION CASE REVIEW: THE DISTRICT OF COLORADO/COLUMBIA

International parental abductions have been reported in countries all over the world. In one of our most recent Hague Convention cases, the attorneys at Masters Law Group succeeded in this landmark ruling in favor of our client.

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.

In our most recent case that concluded on February 20, 2024, the husband – represented by Masters Law Group –  filed a petition for the return of his two children, who were taken from his residence in Colombia to the United States by his wife – the mother of the children. As relevant here, the Hague Convention provides that a parent whose child or children have been wrongfully removed or retained in the United States may petition for the child’s return to his or her country of habitual residence.

CASE OVERVIEW

Before the Court is Petitioner’s Verified Complaint and Petition for Issuance of a Show Cause Order and for Return of Minor Children to Colombia (D. 1). The Court held a bench trial on February 14-16, 2024, with both parties physically present and testifying. The Court GRANTED the petition for the following reasons.

Case Background

This case involves a Hague Convention petition for the return of two minor children born in Colombia to a Colombian citizen petitioner and a United States citizen respondent. The parties were married in the United States in 2012 and lived together in Colombia. The respondent, a full-time childcare provider, took the children to the U.S. for a family reunion but faced passport renewal delays. The Petitioner acquiesced to the extended stay. Despite attempts to attend mediation remotely, The Petitioner canceled, insisting it be rescheduled upon their return to Colombia.

This case arises under the International Child Abduction Remedies Act (ICARA), 42 U.S.C. § 11601 et seq., which implements the Hague Convention on Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction.

The Act entitles a person whose child has been 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.

CASE RESULTS

The Court finds in favor of the Petitioner, concluding that the Respondent wrongfully retained the children and dismissing her claim of grave risk of harm. The Petitioner’s request for the return of the children to Colombia is granted.

Respondent is ordered to ensure the children’s return to Colombia within 28 days, by March 20, 2024, either with herself or an authorized caregiver. Seven days before their departure, Respondent must provide details of the return flight to the Petitioner.

Petitioner may seek reimbursement for expenses following Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 54(d)(1) and D.C.COLO.LCivR 54.1. Respondent is liable for costs, legal fees, and transportation unless proven clearly inappropriate.

The case is hereby closed.

Date: February 20, 2024.

READ THE FULL CASE REVIEW HERE.

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HAGUE CONVENTION – INTERNATIONAL CHILD ABDUCTION LAW WITH MASTERS LAW GROUP

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.

SCHEDULE A CONSULTATION

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

Hague Convention Law for Parental Child Abduction

Family abductions account for 49 percent of all child abduction cases. Addressing the distressing issue of parental child abduction entails substantial emotional and legal consequences for all parties involved. 

The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction was established in 1980 and entered into force between the signatories on 1 December 1983 to address the complex issue of international parental child abduction. 

In this blog, we will explore the key aspects of the Hague Convention, shedding light on how a family law attorney can play a crucial role in helping navigate these delicate cases.

UNDERSTANDING PARENTAL CHILD ABDUCTION

International parental child abduction is a distressing problem that impacts families worldwide. This issue has profound emotional, psychological, and legal implications for those involved. Due to the increase in international travel, parental child abduction cases have increased, too. But what is categorized as International Parental Child Abduction?

As per Travel.State.Gov, international parental child abduction is the removal or retention of a child outside their country of habitual residence in breach of another parent or guardian’s custody rights. The Office of Children’s Issues within the U.S. Department of State is a leader in U.S. government efforts to prevent international parental child abduction (both from the United States and to the United States), help children and families involved in abduction cases, and promote the objectives of the Hague Abduction Convention.

THE HAGUE CONVENTION & PARENTAL CHILD ABDUCTION

The Hague Convention provides a framework for cooperation between signatory countries in resolving international child abduction cases. This multilateral agreement establishes guidelines for the prompt return of wrongfully removed or retained children. Child abduction attorneys with experience in The Hague Convention can guide families through the legal process to help maximize the chances of a successful outcome. Here are a few ways a Child Abduction Lawyer can help:

  • Legal Experience: A child abduction attorney with experience handling Hague Convention cases possesses in-depth knowledge of the legal framework surrounding international child abduction issues.
  • Prevention Strategies: They can set proactive measures to prevent child abduction. This includes obtaining court orders, creating detailed parenting plans, and securing necessary travel permissions.
  • Hague Convention Compliance: A knowledgeable attorney can guide parents through initiating Hague Convention proceedings, helping to ensure that all necessary documents and evidence are prepared and presented per the Convention’s requirements.
  • Timely Response: Swift action is crucial in child abduction cases. A dedicated attorney can expedite the legal process, filing petitions promptly and coordinating with relevant authorities to locate and return the child promptly.

The Hague Convention works with central authorities to help foster communication and coordinate for the child’s safe return. Let’s take a look at what the central authorities can do.

THE CENTRAL AUTHORITY’S ROLE

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. They work closely with other countries to exchange information, coordinate legal proceedings, and help 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 country where the child is.
  • Information and Guidance: The Central Authority helps parents through legal procedures and obligations under the Hague Convention to be 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, consulting with an attorney with experience in international child abduction cases is essential.

HOW A FAMILY LAW ATTORNEY CAN HELP

Addressing issues beyond national borders necessitates efficient coordination with authorities from different countries. This coordination helps individuals navigate high-stakes proceedings seamlessly. Family law attorneys with experience in international abduction cases understand the Hague Convention’s intricacies and relevant international family law.

A skilled family law attorney can adeptly engage with international legal channels to apply the Hague Convention properly. At Masters Law Group, our steadfast attorneys work with local authorities in the abductor’s destination country to monitor compliance with court orders. This allows us to take necessary actions to help facilitate the child’s return if there are any obstacles or delays. 

WORKING WITH MASTERS LAW GROUP

It is important to work with legal professionals who understand the importance of the safety and well-being of your child. Masters Law Group, led by Erin Masters and Anthony Joseph, is experienced in handling delicate, time-sensitive matters involving international parental child abduction. Our attorneys are highly skilled in these areas, litigating in the State of Illinois and the United States federal court system.

See Our Featured Hague Decisions Here:

FINAL THOUGHTS

The Hague Convention provides a framework for addressing parental child abduction on an international scale. In these high-stakes situations, the experience of a family law attorney can be beneficial in initiating the safe return of your child or children. 

Contact us today to set up your complimentary consultation.