What Is The Hague Convention And How Does It Relate To International Custody Cases?

The Hague Convention refers to a treaty between various member countries that guarantees the recognition of custody orders issued by a member nation. It has been adopted by over 90 nations across the world. The U.S. is a signatory of the treaty alongside most European nations and several countries in South America, Africa and the Middle East.

By signing the treaty, member countries agree to:

  • Enforce the terms of a custody agreement
  • Swiftly secure children who have been wrongfully removed from their country of "habitual residence" by a parent
  • When need be, surrender a child to the other parent's custody

The Hague Convention is there to help protect kids from international abductions. In most cases, the treaty applies when one parent moves to another country because of divorce, but they move with their kids without the other partner's consent. Left-behind parents can find legal recourse if the offending parent and innocent child are found in a Hague Convention member country.

A simple principle within the agreement states that moving to a new country doesn't give the relocating parent or custodian any practical or legal advantage over the couple's children.

More About International Hague Convention Cases

  • Only children aged 16 years and below qualify.
  • A petition should be filed in less than a year from the date of the abduction. If done later than that, a defendant may argue that the child has already settled in their new environment.
  • The child must have had "habitual residence" in the country where the petition originates.
  • A defendant can argue that the petitioner had no right of custody or access, that the petitioner agreed to the removal of the child, that the child is of age and can object to the return, or that the return would subject the child to "grave risk."

Get Legal Guidance Personalized For Your Own Circumstances

International custody cases can be highly sensitive and tough to handle. Hurst, Robin & Kay, LLC, is an experienced team of attorneys in Chicago who have helped thousands of individuals with family law matters. Our lawyers will answer your questions about parenting and visitation law in Illinois and deliver sound advice. Call today at 312-782-2400, or send an email.