If you are the parent of a child 15 years of age or younger and must share custody with a former spouse or former partner who you fear may take your child to another country without your consent, you should learn about the Hague Abduction Convention. This agreement includes multiple countries across the globe, although each may have joined at different times. It governs international abductions, including those by parents.
As explained by the United States Department of State, once a child has been taken across a border into a country other than the United States, any legal court order from any jurisdiction within the U.S. may no longer have any power. This is because every nation has its own laws and is not required to abide by the laws or court orders of another country.
What is the Hague Convention?
The Hague Convention established a Central Authority that acts as the primary conduit of communication for parents regardless of the country involved. It manages and processes all documentation regarding an international abduction case and facilitates locating children. Allegations of international abduction require that a valid custody order was in effect and that your parental rights were violated by the action. The immigration status of your child at the time of any removal would have no bearing on these proceedings.
If you would like to learn more about the resources available to you and how to get the help you need when facing a potential international abduction issue, please feel free to visit the custody across borders page of our California child custody and family law website.