Your Rights & International Parental Kidnapping

If you are headed towards divorce, and your child's other parent is a non-U.S. citizen, or has family in a foreign country, you may be worried that your spouse will take your child and flee the United States.

For some mothers and fathers, an international parental child abduction is a very real threat. Perhaps your spouse has directly or indirectly indicated that they will take your child out of the country, or perhaps you have reason to believe that this is a possibility.

Hague Abduction Convention

As a parent in fear of an international child abduction, you can turn to the Hague Abduction Convention for protection. The Hague Abduction Convention is an international treaty made between the United States and over 70 other countries.

The Convention protects children from the devastating effects of an international abduction by a parent. To accomplish this, the Convention encourages the prompt return of an abducted child to their country of habitual residence, and it helps secure a parent's right of access to their child.

The idea is to ensure that child custody and visitation matters are handled by the court in the country of the child's habitual residence. In the absence of legal remedies in the past, the Convention offered a solution, thereby providing parents with a civil remedy among member countries.

I have a court order, why do I need the Convention?

  • U.S. court orders are not necessarily recognized in other countries.
  • Since each country is a sovereign nation, sovereign nations are not capable of interfering with each other's legal systems or law enforcement efforts.
  • Each country has jurisdiction over the people within the country and its borders.

International parental child abduction is illegal under state and federal laws of the United States. The federal crime is outlined in the International Parental Kidnapping Crime Act (IPKCA).

The filing of criminal charges against the other parent may either help or hinder the successful return of your son or daughter; therefore, it is important to speak with an attorney before making any decisions that may be counterproductive to your endeavors.

If you fear that your spouse will take your child overseas, we urge you to contact Cutter & Lax to schedule a consultation with an Encino divorce attorney as soon as humanely possible. We are here to advise you of your parental rights and the legal remedies readily available to you in this urgent matter.