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What is the Hague Convention on International Child Abduction?

If you are a Texas parent who is worried that your children’s other parent may take them to another country for a visit and then refuse to return them, you should be aware of the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. This is a treaty between and among 98 countries that have joined together to provide an expeditious method for returning internationally abducted children to the country from which they were taken and in which they habitually reside.

As stated in the Convention document, which was drafted by the Hague Conference on Private International Law in 1980, the objectives of the Convention were and are twofold. Not only does it work to get internationally abducted children returned to their “home” country as quickly as possible, it also works to ensure that the custody laws and rights of each member country are recognized and adhered to by all other member countries.

Applying for Convention Assistance

If you have legal custody of your children and their other parent is holding them in another country and refusing to return them to you, you may file an application with the Convention’s Central Authority in the United States to obtain assistance in getting them back. The application must contain the following information:

  • Identifying information for yourself and that of each child
  • Each child’s date of birth
  • The grounds on which you are basing your application for assistance
  • Any information you have regarding your children’s present whereabouts
  • Identifying information for the person(s) who you believe have your children

The more information you include in the application, the easier it will be for the proper authorities to help you. Including a certified or verified copy of your divorce degree, custody order, parenting plan and any other pertinent document is always a good idea.

This information is presented for educational purposes only and should not be taken as legal advice. It can, nevertheless, help you understand the Convention application process and what to expect.

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