Tag Archive for: International child abduction lawyers

Understanding International Parental Child Abduction on Missing Children’s Day

May 25th, 2024, is National Missing Children’s Day, a reminder of the importance of child safety and the prevention of child abductions. For parents, guardians, and all those invested in the safety of children, vigilance is vital. 

Despite concerted efforts, parental child abductions persist, with international cases posing particularly daunting challenges. Shockingly, family abductions alone make up 49 percent of all child abduction cases, underscoring the gravity of the issue. The heartache endured by both the abducted child and the left-behind parent is truly unimaginable.

In this blog, we will explore the complexities of international parental child abduction, providing you with essential knowledge and resources should you ever confront this distressing scenario. Here’s what you need to know.

National Missing Children’s Day

National Missing Children’s Day is a solemn occasion emphasizing ongoing efforts to protect and defend children nationwide. This day, established by President Ronald Reagan on May 25, 1983, pays tribute to the brave endeavors of various agencies, organizations, and individuals dedicated to protecting children’s safety.

The origin of National Missing Children’s Day lies in the disappearance of 6-year-old Etan Patz from New York City on May 25, 1979. Etan’s case not only shocked the nation but also catalyzed efforts to address the issue of missing children on a national scale. On this day, we remember him and acknowledge the unwavering dedication of those who tirelessly work to reunite families and protect children.

Let’s turn our attention to a crucial aspect of child safety: understanding the signs of parental child abduction. By identifying these indicators, we can help better protect our children and take proactive steps to prevent such heartbreaking situations.

Knowing The Signs Of Parental Child Abduction

Being able to identify the red flags that signal parental child abduction is crucial when it comes to preventing these tragic scenarios. 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, including:

  1. Threats and Previous Incidents: Any previous threats of seriously hiding your child are critical, as these behaviors can escalate to abduction.
  2. Weak Ties to Current Location: Parents with limited connections to their current community, unstable employment, or distant family may feel more inclined to relocate with the child.
  3. Strong Affiliation with Another Country: Keep an eye on parents with strong emotional or familial ties to another country, especially if they have lived there previously or frequently express a desire to return.
  4. Recent Unexplained Changes in Behavior: Sudden and unexplained actions like quitting a job, selling property, closing bank accounts, or applying for passports or visas should raise concerns, as they could indicate plans for abduction.
  5. History of Relationship Struggles or Domestic Violence: In some cases, parents who perceive themselves as wronged in the relationship may resort to abduction as a means of retaliation.

By recognizing these red flags, we can take proactive steps to help protect our children and prevent the devastating consequences of parental child abduction.

How To Keep Children Safe

Helping secure the safety of our children involves proactive steps and swift action when needed. Establishing clear parental responsibilities and visitation plans is crucial. Reporting a parenting dispute to appropriate authorities, such as local law enforcement or a state judicial officer, is vital for accountability and expedited resolution.

There are also great aids available besides the local authorities. Reaching out to resources like the Department of State’s Office of Children’s Issues and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) can provide support. NCMEC collaborates closely with government agencies and administers programs like the Victim Reunification Travel Program.

To further help mitigate the risk of parental child abduction or enhance the chances of recovering a missing child, consider the following gathering the following:

  • Up-to-date pictures of your child.
  • Fingerprints of your child.
  • 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.

By collaboratively taking these measures, we can collectively contribute to helping safeguard the safety and well-being of all children. Additionally, seeking guidance from a seasoned child abduction attorney with Hague Convention case experience can help navigate such challenging situations.

How The Hague Convention Can Help

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. 

Click here to see the participating countries of the treaty. 

Working With A Child Abduction Attorney

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 child abduction attorney. A family law attorney well-versed in child abductions can provide crucial assistance in filing Hague Convention applications and help defend against lawsuits under the Convention.

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. We 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.

See our Featured Hague Decisions here:

Last 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 helps enable 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.

Contact us here today to learn more.

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.

Child Abduction Attorney: Preventing Parental Child Abduction

Parental child abduction is a distressing reality that affects families worldwide, with parents being accountable for over 90% of abductions. This phenomenon occurs when one parent wrongfully takes a child from the other parent and violates custody arrangements or court orders.

These situations can emotionally traumatize the child and other parties involved. Here, we will explore ways to prevent parental child abduction and how a child abduction attorney can help protect your child’s well-being. Here’s what you need to know.

UNDERSTANDING PARENTAL CHILD ABDUCTION

Parental child abduction typically occurs during or after a separation or divorce when parenting time disputes become contentious. These disputes can occur due to various factors, including disagreements over parenting styles and financial issues. Some parents resort to abduction as a desperate and harmful solution as tensions escalate.

Motivations for parental child abduction vary widely. In certain cases, a parent resorts to abduction as revenge against their former partner, using the child to inflict emotional pain and manipulate the situation. In other instances, driven by fear for their child’s safety, a parent may wrongfully take the child, even without concrete evidence supporting their concerns. This misguided attempt at protecting the child can lead to abduction. These diverse motivations stress parental child abduction cases’ complexity and emotional toll.

Regardless of the motivations, parental child abduction can have severe consequences for the parties involved. The emotional and psychological trauma inflicted upon the child is profound, often resulting in feelings of confusion, anxiety, and insecurity. The left-behind parent is in anguish and uncertainty, desperate to reunite with their child. Given parental child abduction’s complexities and emotional toll, preventing it from happening to your family is crucial.

PREVENTING PARENTAL CHILD ABDUCTION

The stark reality is that almost 5% of children in the US have experienced a parental abduction in their lifetime. Proactive measures are paramount to protect your child’s well-being and prevent the distressing reality of parental child abduction. In Illinois, parenting time laws typically favor what’s best for the child’s interests. A parenting plan will usually recognize the following:

  • The parent-child relationship’s continuity is typically 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.

A parenting plan will give you and your child an added layer of protection should they be abducted. However, it’s always best to consult an experienced family law attorney regarding effective travel consent letters and their limitations.

TIPS FOR CO-PARENTING

Effective co-parenting can help prevent potential parental child abduction. Taking the right steps is crucial for the well-being of your child. Here are some practical tips to navigate co-parenting successfully:

  1. Legal Documentation: Confirm that all parenting time arrangements are legally documented and enforceable through court orders. Consult with a child abduction attorney to draft a legally binding parenting plan.
  2. Mediation and Counseling: Consider family mediation or counseling in high conflict or disputes. These services can help parents work through their issues in a neutral and constructive environment, reducing the likelihood of abduction.
  3. Obtain a Court Order: If you believe there is a significant risk of parental child abduction, it may be necessary to obtain a court order that restricts the other parent’s ability to travel with your child without permission or supervision.
  4. Passport Restrictions: If you have concerns about your child being taken out of the country, consider requesting a court order that restricts the child’s ability to obtain a passport without both parents’ consent.

By following these co-parenting tips, you can create a safer and more stable environment for your child while minimizing the risk of parental child abduction. Collaborating with a child abduction attorney can be instrumental in achieving this goal.

How a Child Abduction Attorney Can Help

Dealing with parental child abduction, whether within the U.S. or internationally, presents significant challenges for parents and children. Seeking legal assistance is crucial in effectively navigating parental child abduction cases. When you partner with an experienced child abduction attorney, such as those at Masters Law Group, you gain the support needed to advocate for your family’s best interests. Here are some ways they can help:

  • Legal Advice: Child abduction attorneys have experience in family law and parental child abduction cases. They understand the complexities of these situations and can guide your rights and options.
  • Court Representation: In cases where abduction has occurred, your attorney can represent you to obtain emergency orders. This includes restraining orders or parenting time modifications to protect your child.
  • International Abduction: A child abduction attorney can work with the proper authorities to prevent your child from leaving the country.
  • Advocacy and Support: Child abduction attorneys provide legal advice, emotional support, and guidance. They can help you navigate the difficult terrain of parental child abduction cases.
  • Hague Convention: If your child is taken to another country, a child abduction attorney can help you navigate the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. The Hague Convention is an international treaty designed to facilitate the safe return of children wrongfully removed from their country of habitual residence.

WORKING WITH MASTERS LAW GROUP

Nothing can make a parent feel more helpless than having a child taken or held in a foreign jurisdiction. Preventing parental child abduction is critical for any parent facing parenting time disputes or separation. 

Support from a child abduction attorney can help reduce the risk of abduction and protect your family’s well-being. If you believe your child is in the process of being abducted by a parent or legal guardian, contact the family law attorneys at Masters Law Group.

Our Senior Attorneys, Erin Masters, and Anthony Joseph, have extensive experience in cases involving international parenting time disputes in the State of Illinois and the United States federal court systems.

Contact us today to schedule a consultation.

The Role of a Child Abduction Attorney

It’s every parent’s worst nightmare; your child has been taken by your ex. Let’s explore the warning signs, risks, and impact of this troubling phenomenon and learn how a Family Law Attorney can help.

Imagine the heart-wrenching reality that unfolds every 40 seconds—a child goes missing. The world of child abduction is a global crisis that demands urgent attention. In this blog, we delve into the intricate legal processes that govern child abduction cases both here in the U.S. and across international borders, shedding light on the vital role of child abduction attorneys.

Understanding Child Abduction

Child abduction is a distressing problem that impacts numerous families worldwide. The gravity of this situation necessitates the assistance of attorneys experienced in child abduction who can provide the necessary legal help.

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. Child abduction can occur in various contexts and for different reasons. It is important to differentiate between two types of child abduction:

  • Domestic Child Abduction:
    • Parent or family member taking a child without permission or against a court order.
    • Arises from custody disputes, parental alienation, or perceived harm.
    • Usually occurs within the same country.
  • International Child Abduction:
    • Children are taken across international borders without consent or violating a court order.
    • Motives include custody disputes, parental child abduction, or escaping danger.
    • Requires coordination between different countries’ legal systems via The Hague Convention.

When a child is abducted, the consequences can be severe for both the child and the left-behind parent. The child may experience emotional distress, confusion, and trauma. It is crucial to act swiftly and decisively to ensure the child’s safe return. This is where your family law attorney experienced in child abduction plays a vital role as advocates, working towards the child’s safe return.

The Crucial Role of Child Abduction Attorneys

Family Law Attorneys who are highly versed in child abduction cases provide legal representation and advocacy for families during these high-stakes situations. These dedicated legal professionals possess comprehensive knowledge of child custody, child abduction, and the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. Attorneys understand the intricate legal landscape surrounding these domestic and international cases. They are well-versed in the specific laws and procedures governing child custody disputes and the unlawful removal or retention of children.

One of the primary roles of child abduction attorneys is championing the child’s best interests in the abduction case. They recognize that children are often the most vulnerable parties in such situations and strive to protect their rights throughout the legal process. These cases involve intricate legal procedures and the application of domestic and international laws. A skilled child abduction attorney from a reputable law firm with a nationwide and global reach is equipped to handle the complexities of these cases.

Navigating the Legal Complexities: The Hague Convention

The Hague Convention provides a framework for cooperation between signatory countries in resolving international child abduction cases. This law establishes guidelines for promptly returning wrongfully removed or retained children. Child abduction attorneys with experience in The Hague Convention guide families through the legal process to maximize the chances of a successful outcome.

Under the Hague Convention, attorneys can initiate legal actions to secure the child’s return to their home country. They assist families in filing applications for the child’s recovery. They also work with central authorities to facilitate communication, gather evidence, and coordinate efforts for the child’s safe return.

At Masters Law Group, our skilled attorneys work with local authorities in the destination country to monitor compliance with court orders and take necessary actions to facilitate the child’s return if there are any obstacles or delays. Through tireless efforts, we aim to reunite families, advocating for the child’s safe return and contributing to the overall well-being of all parties involved.

Trust in Masters Law Group

It is important to work with experienced professionals who understand the safety and well-being of your child. Masters Law Group, led by Erin Masters and Anthony Joseph, is ideal for handling such delicate, time-sensitive matters.

Ms. Masters and Mr. 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.

We 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.

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 scheduling a consultation with our dedicated team at Masters Law Group. Together, we’ll fight for your family’s rights and ensure a brighter future for your child.

Contact us today to set up your complimentary consultation.

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:

How Does the Hague Convention Apply to a Child Custody Case?

Child custody (Parental Responsibilities) disputes can be emotionally draining, but when the involved parents reside in different countries, the situation becomes even more complex. That’s where the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction comes in. 

With the increased mobility of couples, international child custody cases are becoming more common. Whether couples decide to live abroad or receive international jobs, child custody disputes that cross international borders are on the rise. Under the Hague Convention, children who are wrongfully abducted from the country where they live must be returned to that country, so that custody disputes can be resolved there.

In this blog, we will explore the implications of international child custody cases and discuss how the Hague Convention can provide assistance in resolving disputes. Here’s what you need to know.

WHY THE HAGUE CONVENTION IS IMPORTANT

The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction is a crucial international agreement that deals with international parental child abduction. This treaty provides a legal process that allows a parent to seek the return of their child to their home country. The Convention was developed by the Hague Conference on Private International Law (HCCH) and entered into force on December 1, 1983. 

Numerous countries worldwide have joined the treaty, which aims to prevent wrongful removal or retention of a child from their habitual residence. The Convention considers any removal or retention that breaches custody rights attributed to a person or any other body as “wrongful,” regardless of whether the parent has legal custody. In many cases, U.S. court orders may not be recognized in other countries, and sovereign nations cannot interfere with each other’s legal systems. Therefore, the Hague Convention provides an essential framework for resolving international child custody disputes.

HAGUE CONVENTION FRAMEWORK

The Hague Convention’s framework helps countries work together to find solutions for custody cases where a child is abducted, regardless of the child’s immigration status or nationality. If a child is taken from their habitual home and brought to a foreign country, it violates the parent’s custodial rights.

The Central Authority can help with the following: 

  • Serves as the main point of contact for parents and children in international child custody cases.
  • Help locate abducted children.
  • Encourage solutions that benefit both parents.
  • Submit admissible documents as part of the application in partner countries. 

A custody order is not always necessary to prove that a parent’s custodial rights were violated, as proof of parenthood or marriage can be used instead. When a child is returned to their habitual residence, it is done based on the best interests of the child, and their immigration status or nationality is not a factor. The Hague Convention provides a crucial framework for resolving international custody disputes prioritizing the child’s well-being.

CAN THE COURT DENY A RETURN?

It is important to note that under specific circumstances, the court may deny the return of a child, and these exceptions can vary from country to country. The court may deny the following: 

  • Risk to the child where they are exposed to physical or psychological harm.
  • The child objects if they are old enough.
  • More than a year has passed, and the child adapts to their new home.
  • The custodial parent agrees to let the child remain.
  • The return would violate human rights and fundamental freedoms
  • The custodial parents seeking return are not exercising rights of custody during wrongful removal. 

The Hague Convention provides various procedures for coordinating international child abduction cases. It’s important to note that the exceptions for denying the return of a child can vary from country to country.

CHALLENGES PARENTS MAY FACE

When parents are dealing with international child custody disputes, they often face a variety of hurdles they need to overcome. One of the most significant challenges is simply navigating the legal system of another country. This can involve language barriers, unfamiliar legal procedures, and cultural differences that can make it difficult for parents to advocate for their rights effectively. 

Additionally, parents may struggle to locate and communicate with their children, especially if the other parent is hiding them. In some cases, parents may also face obstacles related to travel, such as visa restrictions or prohibitive travel costs. International child custody cases can be highly stressful and emotionally taxing for parents. That’s why it’s essential to have the right support and guidance throughout the process.

GET THE HELP YOU NEED

Acting fast is crucial when facing an international child custody case, and having an attorney who can file a Hague Convention application on short notice is essential. It’s crucial to seek legal counsel with knowledge and experience in Hague proceedings to navigate these complex cases successfully.

Erin Masters and Anthony Joseph are highly experienced in cases involving international child custody disputes in the State of Illinois and the United States federal court system. They have vast experience with the Hague Convention on Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. 

If you’re interested in learning more, see our featured Hague Decisions:

Contact us today to schedule a consultation.

Hague Convention – International Child Abduction – Washington State

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. Navigating international child abduction cases in Washington State can be a legal minefield. During these situations, knowing your legal rights and options through the Hague Convention could prove detrimental to protecting the victims involved.

“International parental kidnapping can have serious emotional, psychological, and even physical consequences for the abducted child.”

– A Law Enforcement Guide on International Parental Kidnapping, U.S. Department of Justice

Every day, children are wrongfully removed from their residing homes and taken to a foreign country, in violation of parental rights.

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.

Here’s everything you need to know about international child abduction and the Hague Convention for residents of Washington State.

WHAT IS THE HAGUE CONVENTION? 

The Hague Convention on Civil Aspects on 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 of 1983.

The countries that participate are also included in a large treaty that governs the way different legal systems work together. The two main goals were to:

  • 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.

FILING A CASE UNDER THE HAGUE CONVENTION IN WASHINGTON STATE

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.

RETURNING OF THE CHILD

If your child/children have been wrongfully removed from your home in Washington State and taken overseas, you need to move fast.

The return of an internationally abducted child is often settled through negotiation or with the left-behind parents filing a civil petition pursuant through the Hague Convention. Deciding whether to file a Hague application is an important decision and must be considered based on each case’s specific circumstances. If a court decides the child must be returned to its country of habitual residence, they may make the return contingent upon certain obligations from the petitioning parents. This might include:

  • Paying for the travel of the respondent and child to the country where the child habitually resides.
  • Arranging housing or paying for living expenses for the respondent and child in the country of the child’s habitual residence.
  • An order that the petitioner have no contact with the respondent if the respondent returns to the country of the child’s habitual residence.
  • An order that the petitioner will have no contact or limited contact with the child once the child returns to the country of the habitual residence.

POSSIBLE DEFENSES AGAINST THE HAGUE CONVENTION

Under the Hague Convention, a court may deny the return of a child if one of the following applies:

  • 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.
  • The child objects to being returned and has attained an age and degree of maturity at which the court can take account of the child’s views.
  • More than one year has passed since the wrongful removal or retention occurred and the child has settled in their new environment.
  • The party seeking return consented to or subsequently acquiesced to the child’s removal or retention.
  • The return would violate the fundamental principles of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the county where the child is being held.
  • The party seeking return was not exercising the right of custody at the time of the wrongful removal or retention.

HIRING A HAGUE CONVENTION LAWYER 

In acts of desperation, some parents may consider using extra-judicial forms of recovery, such as personally traveling to the foreign country to recover a child. Although it may seem easier and faster to use extra-judicial methods, they often violate U.S. federal laws and the laws of the foreign country involved, and may potentially exacerbate the situation.

With the difficulty of international child abduction and Hague Convention cases, you should instead hire an attorney with extensive international law experience and Hague Convention cases across the globe. Ultimately, working with the family court system to resolve custody issues is the best avenue for ensuring the safety of all parents and children involved.


About Masters Law Group

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 clients in these high-stakes proceedings.

Contact us to schedule your consultation here today. 

How to Help Prevent International Child Abduction in 2023

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.

Final Thoughts

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.

Contact us 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.