The world is getting increasingly smaller. Those working for large corporations often find that they spend some time overseas representing their company, and they may fall in love and have a child. Others choose to study aboard, fall in love, get married and have a child. Then, one day they find themselves getting a divorce and the other parent has decided to flee to another country with their child. In these cases, the countries who are signers of the Hague Convention have made some powerful agreements because what the United States court system may be ignored in another country.
The Hague Convention that has been ratified by 98 countries requires that each have a central authority that parents can work through when they are claiming that their child has been abducted to that country. It is the central authority’s job to locate the child and try to work with both sets of parents to solve any problems. It is also the central authority’s job to facilitate the child’s safe return to the child’s home country if appropriate. If the case goes to court, then any documents submitted to the central authority are accepted in court without the legal requirements being met that most foreign documents require. A parent does not have to be physically present in the country to prove that their rights to custody or access have been violated. The immigration status of the child or parent is never taken into consideration when deciding child custody cases.
It is important to work with an outstanding lawyer at a family law practice in Orlando, like those at Frank Family Law Practice, to provide the evidence that you need to win your case under the Hague Convention. You must prove that your child lived regularly in one country before being taken to another country. You must prove that you were an active part of the child’s life at the time they were taken to a different country or that you would have been if the other parent did not stop you. Both the child’s home country and the country where they were taken must have already signed the Hague Convention when the child was removed from his or her country of residence. The law only applies to children under the age of 16.
Yes, the court can rule that the child does not have to be returned to the home country. That is why it is vital that you start working with an experienced family law practice immediately. If the court finds that the child would be placed in a harmful situation if they are returned, then the court can order the child not be returned. The judge determines that the child has the maturity to decide for themselves what they want. The judge will consider how well the child has adapted if more than one year has passed.
If any of this applies to you and your children, then contact Frank Family Law Practice immediately.