The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of Child Abduction, a multilateral treaty, has 98 countries as signatories, including the United States. As international relationships become more common in Texas and across the country, this treaty may become increasingly relevant in child custody disputes. The end of any relationship can lead to serious legal and financial battles, especially when children are involved. Both parents may feel that they deserve sole custody over the child. In addition, when a relationship comes to an end, one parent may want to return to their home country. A shared child and a custody agreement may make this more complicated.
Parental abductions in custody disputes are the most common type of child abduction in the United States. The complexity increases when multiple countries and sets of laws are involved. A parent may want to take the child to their home country largely due to the advantage that they would have in any custody dispute or legal case. This is where the Hague Convention comes in. Countries that have acceded to the treaty agree that any child taken without authorization from one country to another should be returned to his or her habitual place of residence.
The country from which the child was taken exercises control over custody decisions. This can present its own challenges because some countries may strongly prefer either mothers or fathers while others may have a strong bias in support of their own nationals. However, the situation is much more complicated if one country is not a signatory to the Hague Convention; it may be difficult to secure the child’s return.
International child custody disputes require quick action, especially if an abduction is involved. A family law attorney may help a parent to navigate the child custody system even when multiple countries are involved.