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What Is the Hague Convention? | Child Custody Orders and Visitation

The majority of child custody orders and visitation schedules involve two parents living in the same state, and most of these live in the same city or at least reasonably close by. However, in custody cases involving one parent who lives in another country, custody, visitation and enforcing both becomes more difficult.

The Hague Convention was brought about to give different countries a way to work together to deal with international custody cases involving a parental abduction. In some situations, a U.S. custody order may not be recognized in another country, and because each country’s jurisdiction is limited to its physical territory and the people living there, international parental abduction cases can be difficult to resolve.

Countries that are part of the Hague Convention, however, have agreed to certain tenants which can make resolving these issues easier, although they are still far from simple. The Hague Convention says that visitation and where the child will reside is independent of nationality or immigration status of the parents or child. The Hague Convention also establishes a Central Authority for every country that enters into it, and the Central Authority is responsible for helping parents work together, locating abducted children and helping the children be returned to the court-ordered parent when the dispute has been settled.

The Hague Convention is very important for parents engaged in international custody disputes that are or could possibly turn into parental abduction cases. While it can be tempting to take matters into your own hands in these situations, working with a family law attorney and going through the proper legal channels is the best way to handle them.

Source: U.S. Department of State, “Important Features of the Hague Abduction Convention – Why the Hague Convention Matters,” accessed July 22, 2015

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