international kidnapping

stuffed animal tigerEver wonder what happens when a child is wrongfully taken across international borders?

  • What happens if a child who lives in the United States is wrongfully removed by a parent, taken to France, and kept there?
  • What happens if a child who resides in Portugal comes here to the United States with a parent for vacation and is wrongfully kept here?

What are the rights of a parent left behind?Keep reading

The International Divorce and Hague Convention Maze

Hi there,

One of the most horrifying things to happen in a divorce is to have the other parent take your child, go to another country and refuse to return. The Hague Convention is the international law that governs this type of kidnapping. Not all countries are signatories to the Hague Convention. There are also vast differences between dealing with the Hague Convention in a country that recognizes and follows it (i.e., France), and one that is a signatory, but not really compliant.

Handling a Hague Convention case is a bureaucratic maze. There are very specific rules and requirements that do not exist in an ordinary case, and there is the overlay of dealing with the State Department as well as obtaining two sets of lawyers. You will need a lawyer in the country of the children’s “habitual residence” as well as one in the country to which the children were taken. There often are language barriers as well, so typically you need to find a lawyer who is fluent in English in the country to which the children were taken.

In fact, determining the country of the children’s “habitual residence” can be problematic. Hague Convention … Keep reading

Hi there,

I have done a number of international child custody cases and one thing I know for sure is you DO NOT want your children to ever, ever be remotely involved in such a matter. If you are married, or were married to someone who holds citizenship in another country or who works abroad, this can be a concern.  I just read a terrific article in the Ohio Family Law Blog by Shawn Hooks, which gives some good information and a terrific link to help parents who might have a problem.

Also, I can’t believe how convoluted family law has gotten in this transgendered age.  I was amused to read this article about Texas interpretation of gender.

And finally, in a scandal that would have resulted in political death in the U.S., the Italian prime minister is finally divorced.

Best,

Nancy… Keep reading

Hi there,

I have been reading the David Goldman saga for some months now.  As a story, it highlights the problems of international custody cases when one parent takes the children to a foreign country and will not return them.  These cases are very difficult, even if the country in question has signed the Hague convention.  You need an American divorce attorney who understands the convention, contacts at the US State Department; an attorney in the foreign country who does family law and understands the Hague convention and has contacts in the foreign State Department.  It is hellishly expensive.  Furthermore, if the country in question hasn’t signed the Hague convention (like most of the Muslim countries) then the result can be tragic.

If you don’t know the Goldman story, in 2004 David’s then wife took their 4 year old American born son to Brazil for what she told David was a 2 week vacation. Once there she ended the marriage, remarried a Brazilian lawyer and then died in childbirth in 2008.

David Goldman has been fighting to be reunited with his son for 5 years and the reunion happened on Christmas Eve.

It should have occurred much, much earlier. … Keep reading