United States parents whose children are the subject of an international parental child abduction are deeply frustrated with the noncompliance and disregard of U.S. child custody orders by Japan and India. Japan and India have refused to sign the Hague Convention on international abduction that regulates child custody between parents who have citizenship in different countries. In this post we will talk about the experience that U.S. parents have faced when their former partners have taken their children to India. The focus of our next post will be on Japan.
International child abduction cases occur when a parent that has citizenship of a different country does not comply with a U.S. child custody order by taking their child to their home country. India and Japan account for more than 300 international child abduction cases that have been opened by the State Department since 1994. The cases involve 400 children. The State Department believes that incidences of international child abductions will increase as binational marriages continue to become popular.
In India, a national law commission has recommended that the country should sign the Hague Convention but the Indian government has not identified the signing of the agreement as a top priority. The State Department says that once a child has been abducted to India it is very hard to regain custody of the child because India does not consider international parent child abduction a crime. In addition, Indian courts do not recognize U.S. child custody orders, and Indian courts give preference to the parent who wants to keep the child in India.
One international family law lawyer says that India’s lethargic court system gives parents that reside in India time to build a case to show that India would be the best place to raise the child. One father whose former partner took their son to India in 1990 has spent 20 unsuccessful years trying to get the Indian legal system to recognize his rights as a father. In our next post we will look at international parent child abductions that deal with Japan and what steps are being taken to improve the chances that U.S. parents will have to see their children again.
Source: The Washington Post, “Japan, India Pressed to Curb Child Abductions,” David Crary, 12/7/10