If you’re on the outs with your ex-spouse with ties to another country, you may be concerned about the possibility that your child will be kidnapped and taken abroad. There are red flags to watch out for to alert you to a potential kidnapping and actions you can take in California to prevent an abduction. If your child has already been removed from the country, there are legal methods available to have your child returned to the United States. The process is complicated and requires experience in family law, international law, emergency hearings and government relations, so it’s important to hire an experienced California international abduction attorney with a track record for success. Envision Family Law, LLP has a reputation for providing excellent service and getting great results.

How To Prevent An International Abduction

If you have joint custody with a parent that has family abroad, it could be beneficial to your children to get to know their extended family, but it’s also possible that a trip could be an excuse to violate the custody order by refusing to return the child. This is why most child custody orders require substantial advance notice before taking a child out of the country. It’s a huge red flag if you find out that your co-parent is planning a trip abroad with your children behind your back, especially if they’ve already purchased a ticket. If you discover evidence that a parent is planning to kidnap a child and take them out of the country, there is action you can take to prevent this from happening. An experienced California international abduction attorney can make an ex-parte emergency motion requesting relief such as:

  • Supervised visitation;
  • Requiring the other parent to post a bond;
  • Restricting the right of the other parent to remove the child from the county and/or
  • Requiring the surrender of passports.

If the judge does allow the trip, they may order some protections such as requiring an itinerary, copies of plane tickets, addresses and phone numbers of all places visited and an open airline ticket for you in case the child is not returned.

The Hague Convention

If your child has been taken out of the United States and has not been returned, there are legal actions that can be taken to get your child back. The Hague Convention is a multilateral treaty that’s intended to provide guidance for situations when custody issues arise between parents living in different signatory countries. It’s intended to provide a powerful method of quickly returning children from a country where they are being held, to the country of their birth, but there are often bumps in the road. The Hague Convention requires each signatory country to appoint a Central Authority that will conduct a thorough search for the child. While some countries such as New Zealand, Australia and the UK act quickly when presented with a petition under the Hague Convention, other countries such as Mexico, Austria and Columbia tend to drag their feet. Finding your child doesn’t automatically result in the child being returned as there are defenses that can be asserted that prevent or delay the return such as:

  • The child is at grave risk for physical or psychological harm if returned;
  • The child wants to remain and is mature enough to have their opinion considered and
  • More than one year has passed and the child is settled in the new country.

If your child has been abducted and taken to another country, it’s important to act quickly to get them returned.

California International Abduction Attorney

An experienced California international abduction attorney can help you prevent your child from being kidnapped or get them back if they’ve already been taken out of the country. It’s important to act quickly in these situations and to hire a law firm that has the skills and know-how to get the job done right. Envision Family Law, LLP is known for its excellent service and great results.