With the increase in technology and ease of transportation, the opportunity for children to travel internationally has grown significantly in recent years. Whether for leisure or for business, children are frequently traveling across international lines with parents. The world has become a much smaller place. Some parents use this opportunity to move children across international borders without the permission of the other parent or the court. When dealing with international custody disputes, Pollock Begg attorneys understand the issues and procedures associated with international custody practice.

What is the Hague Convention on Child Abduction?

The 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction addresses the wrongful removal or retention of children from their home country. The Hague Convention on Child Abduction is designed to protect children in international custody disputes. The United States adopted the convention in 1981, and there are presently 91 other countries who are signatories. A United States federal statute adopted the framework of the Hague Convention for resolving custody disputes, and it also provides the framework for which cases will be litigated in the United States. It should be understood by those involved in international custody disputes that the Hague Convention on Child Abduction does not determine the merits of a dispute but determines the appropriate forum for the litigation. The process for filing a Hague Convention action is driven by very specific procedure and guidelines. Pollock Begg attorneys have experience in Hague Convention cases and can capably navigate the complicated matters of an international custody dispute.

What steps can protect a child from international abduction?

Initially, the key to protecting a child from unwanted international travel lies in the strict guidelines required in order for a child to obtain a passport. Both parents must either apply together in person or present a notarized form providing permission for the other parent to apply for a passport. If a passport has not been issued for a child prior to custody litigation, it will be difficult for one parent to obtain a passport without the knowledge and/or consent of the other parent.

If a passport has previously been issued for a child prior to the commencement of custody litigation and there is reason to believe a parent has the ability and/or motivation to flee to an international destination, a parent can request by consent or through the courts that the passport be held in escrow by the attorneys of the parties or by another agreed upon third party.

A further protection exists for children traveling outside of the country when a child is in the custody of any parent. The traveling parent is required to obtain and present a notarized consent to travel or letter signed by the other parent. This methodology is not foolproof, but it is presently followed by most airlines. Given the confusion and turmoil that often exists in busy airports or at borders, however, this requirement can be overlooked. There are additional means and methodologies Pollock Begg attorneys implement in order to ensure the safety of children and the prevention of their abduction.

Call us today for more information about international custody disputes.

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