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Helton Law Firm, PLLC

Dealing with international child abduction

A Tennessee parent whose ex-spouse has foreign ties might have concerns about the potential for an international abduction in the future. While some divorces and custody agreements are worked out without extreme contention, man situations are difficult because of parental conflicts. In a case that could lead to a potential abduction to another country, legal insight may be helpful for the concerned parent.

The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction is an international treaty that more than 90 countries have adopted for overseeing the return of children who may have been illegally taken out of their home countries by a parent. The Hague Convention was adopted by the United States in 1988 and is applicable to cases that have occurred since that point.

Although it provides a framework for getting a child back to their home country in case of a violation of a custody order, it is important to understand that a timely request must be made. If a child has been out of the country for at least one year, there may be concerns of foreign officials about interfering with a youngster's well-being based on long-term settlement in a given community. However, a prompt petition could be difficult if a parent does not know where the child has been taken.

A parent who is worried that their child could be abducted and taken out of the country might find that a court order preventing the other party's departure would be helpful. A warrant could be issued to take an abducted child immediately into custody if an abduction has already occurred.

Prior to the finalization of a child custody case, a parent might discuss suspicions of the other party's intentions to leave the country. A lawyer might request that international travel be strictly prohibited in the custody decision. There could also be steps taken to prevent the issuance of a passport to the child without the consent of the custodial parent.

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