When San Francisco courts determine custody arrangements, they ultimately consider the best interests of the child involved. However, a custody agreement can get extremely complex when the issues are international.
The Hague Convention was enacted to protect children from international abduction and to return children to their home country residence. It also includes child custody conflicts when a parent or guardian resides in a different country to the home country of the child.
If you’re in need of legal representation to protect your rights or the rights of your child, Masters Law Group can help. We can represent parents and children in a variety of complex international abduction cases.
Here’s everything you need to know about international abduction cases and the Hague Convention in San Francisco.
The Hague Convention
The Hague Convention is a treaty that works 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. A number of counties have joined this treaty which was developed by the Hague Conference on Private International Law (HCCH) and officially entered into force in December 1983.
According to the Convention, the removal or retention of a child is “wrongful” when it breaches custody rights attributed to a person or any other body. Even if a parent already has legal custody of the child, the Convention is needed to return the child back to their habitual residence.
The Convention’s framework allows countries to help one another find solutions for difficult custody cases where a child is abducted. This doesn’t rely on the immigration status or nationality of the child. In certain situations, a child may be wrongfully detained in another country, where they are not a resident. Violations of custodial rights happen if the child is wrongfully removed from their habitual home and are now living in a foreign country.
Presenting a custody order is not needed to prove that a parent’s custodial rights were violated when the child was taken from their country. This can be proven by showing proof of parenthood.
Filing a Hague Application in San Francisco
Whether or not the Hague Convention is an appropriate solution for you depends on a variety of factors. Perhaps after separating from their partner, a parent wants to take their child and move to another country. Another situation may be that a parent moved internationally in violation of a custody agreement. It’s important to know that filing a case under the Hague Convention does not automatically guarantee the child will be returned.
To obtain the return of the child, it must be proven that:
- The child was habitually resident in one Convention country and was removed to or retained in another Convention country.
- The removal or retention of the child is considered wrongful and was in violation of custodial rights, and those rights were exercised at the time of removal or retention.
- The Convention must have been in force between the two countries at the time of the wrongful removal or retention.
- The child is under the age of 16.
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.
Getting the Legal Help You Need in San Francisco
High-stakes international child abduction cases require experienced, knowledgeable and fast-acting attorneys. Your lawyer should be ready to file a Hague Convention application and institute or defend a Hague Convention lawsuit on short notice.
Our attorneys at Masters Law Group have extensive experience in international child abduction cases. 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 our clients in these high-stakes proceedings.
Contact Masters Law Group Today
The award-winning attorneys at Masters Law Group have successfully represented clients in such cases across the country and globe; including Hague cases across the United States and Internationally in New Zealand, but to name a few.