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Why the Hague Convention matters for child custody

Residents of Farmington Hills and other areas of Michigan who share custody of their children may want to learn more about the Hague Convention. Attorney wants parents to understand how the Hague Convention affects international child custody matters.

According to the U.S. Department of State, the Hague Abduction Convention protects children from the harmful effects of an international abduction. Courts in the child’s usual residence must decide custody and visitation.

Why is the Hague Convention important?

Some courts in foreign countries may not recognize the orders of the U.S. courts. Since each country is a sovereign nation, there is agreement that they will not interfere in the legal system of each other.

Each country that has approved the Hague Convention will provide a Central Authority. It is the duty of the Central Authority to do the following:

  • Be the point of contact for parents and children in international child custody cases
  • Help locate abducted children
  • Encourage solutions that work for both parents

The convention provides a framework

It helps countries work together to find a solution to child custody in difficult cases. This does not depend on the immigration status or nationality of the child; it depends on proof of their status by their habitual residence.

A child may be wrongfully detained in another country, of which they are not a habitual resident. Violations of custodial rights occur when the child is wrongfully removed from their usual county and now lives in a foreign nation. This applies to a child under the age of 16 years.

The court may deny return

Under certain circumstances, the court may deny return of the child. This would be for the following reasons:

  • There is risk to the child for harm if returned.
  • The child objects if they are old enough and mature enough.
  • More than a year has passed, and the child acclimates to their new home.
  • The custodial parent agrees to let the child remain.
  • Other exceptions that will vary according to the country involved.

The Hague Convention matters when there is child abduction to another country. In most cases, the child must return to the country of their habitual residence as stated in the Convention. There are some exceptions, however, that may receive consideration.