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What Is The Hague Abduction Convention?

When something goes wrong with a custody agreement, it can be extremely stressful. One parent may fail to adhere to certain guidelines set out in the agreement or ignore it altogether. But some parents may take even more severe actions in violation of an established agreement. This may include wrongfully taking a child to another country. However, there are treaties in place to protect children.

The Hauge Abduction Convention Defined

What is the Hague Abduction Convention? Well, it is an international treaty designed to help children return to their home countries. The convention was developed by the Hague Conference on Private International Law and signed on October 25, 1980. The primary intention of this treaty has always been to protect children from wrongful removal from home countries and prioritizing their return home.

Why Is The Convention Necessary?

You may think that the Hague Abduction Convention may not be necessary with an already established custody agreement. However, this is not the case. In fact, these custody agreements may not be recognized in other countries and courts. Furthermore, sovereign nations do not have the ability to interfere with one another’s legal systems. For these reasons, it was necessary to create guidelines on how to approach international cases.

Who Is Involved In The Treaty?

Unfortunately, before the implementation of this convention, there were no international guidelines on how to broach this serious issue. With the creation of the Hague Abduction Convention, countries have been able to adopt a unilateral framework that details how these cases should be handled. It is important to note that not every nation is a partner in this treaty. As of 2021, there are 101 treaty partners, with the most recent additions being Barbados and Guyana.

What Framework Does The Hauge Abduction Convention Provide?

There are several key components of the convention that are important to know. These components are established to make it easier for countries to work together and resolve international cases.

  • Each country that has acceded to the convention must have a Central Authority. The Central Authority will be responsible to act as the main point of contact for the individuals involved with the abduction case.

  • The Central Authority will also work to assist in locating the abducted children, as well as encourage potential amicable solutions to the case and facilitate safe returns.

  • When the Central Authority submits court documents, they are easily admissible in other partner courts, without the typical formalities required with international documentation.

  • Custody orders are not a requirement for proving that custodial rights were violated. Instead, a parent may demonstrate this has occurred by showing proof through parenthood or marriage.

What Cases Fall Under The Hague Abduction Convention?

Not every case will necessarily result in the return of a child to their home country. In order for this to occur, you will have to demonstrate one or more of the following:

  • The child must have been a habitual resident in one of the Convention countries, and then wrongfully removed or relocated to another Convention country.

  • The said removal has been a wrongful action and violated custodial rights and those rights were being exercised at the time of the removal.

  • The two countries must have been a part of the Convention when the removal took place. Keep in mind that while a country may accede to the Convention, that does not automatically make them partners with every other country that is in the treaty.

  • The child must be under the age of 16.

Can The Return Of a Child Be Denied?

Yes. The return of a child can be denied by the courts. This would occur in circumstances in which the return of the child may put them at risk or in danger. Furthermore, if the child is old or mature enough to express their views, they may be taken into account when making decisions. Additionally, if the initial removal took place more than a year ago or if the child has become settled in their new environment, it may be more harmful to remove them again. Exceptions to the rules established by the Hague Abduction Convention will vary country by country.

Find An Attorney That Understands

The Hague Abduction Convention is a complex international treaty that not every attorney has experience with. If you feel as though your child was wrongfully abducted, the team at Autumn Beck Blackledge PLLC is prepared to take on your case.


Give our office a call at (850) 404-7263 to schedule a consultation with one of our experienced attorneys!