What is it?
According to the US Department of Justice’s Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP), international parental child abduction is “a child’s wrongful removal from the United States, or wrongful retention in another country, by a parent or other family member.” Usually, the removal serves to abrogate an existing or pending custody order that has been made pursuant to a lawful custody hearing within the child’s “home state”. International child custody disputes are always difficult to resolve as not all countries support US laws
Applicable Laws for Child Custody International and Hague Convention Child Abduction Guidelines
International child custody issues are usually resolved using both state and federal regulatory rulings and international treaties. Within the US, The Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA), along with the Parental Kidnapping Prevention Act (PKPA), govern abduction cases concerning the wrongful removal of a child across state and international lines; however, these laws are typically only enforceable within the United States’ jurisdiction as foreign countries are not required to abide by the United States’ domestic laws. Only those countries who are signatories to the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction (HCCAICA) have any obligation to recognize court orders made pursuant to US law, and even then, some signatories have compliance and enforcement issues. The Hague Convention international child abduction treaty lays the groundwork, but it is not wholly enforceable.
International child abduction remains a serious problem
Hague Convention child abduction guidelines are a matter of international law. According to the Hague Conference on Private International Law, the HCCAICA is “a multilateral treaty, which seeks to protect children from the harmful effects of abduction and retention across international boundaries by providing a procedure to bring about their prompt return.” The treaty accomplishes this by directing the signatories’ “central authority” to preserve a preexisting and lawful child custody order made pursuant to the domestic laws of the contracting parties, and to promptly return the child to their country of “habitual residence” in cases where a child has been removed in violation of a lawful custody order. This serves to discourage “forum shopping” by parents who are dissatisfied with a custody order made pursuant to their nation’s laws and position on international child custody. Hague convention international child abduction rules is a start, but it is by no means a ticket to getting your child back. An international custody lawyer can explain in more detail, but there are some important stipulations to the HCCAICA’s terms and conditions should be noted:
- Applies only to children under the age of sixteen.
- No longer applies after one year has passed since the wrongful removal or retention action.
- Does not apply when the parent or child have fled from an abusive situation.
International parental child abduction and the FBI
Abductions of children internationally have increased with the US immigrant population and growing number of families with dual citizenship or citizenship ties to another country. Another child custody international applicable law is the International Parental Kidnapping Act (IPKA), which makes it a Federal criminal offense to wrongfully remove a child from the United States. According to the FBI, they have “concurrent jurisdiction to investigate” these wrongful removals under the IPKA, and can assist parents and other families members in investigating an international parental abduction by utilizing their “60 international offices that cover approximately 200 countries.” International child kidnapping is a serious offense. However, it is important to realize that the FBI and the US government’s authority in foreign nations only extend as far as the host nation will allow. For parents or family members that need help with an international parental kidnapping case, they should seek assistance from law enforcement authorities or a international child custody lawyer who has experience with both domestic and international family law.
For a legal advice about your child abduction case, please call Julia Vangorodska – a top ranked New York City family lawyer. He will do a miracle for you.