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Hague Convention Matters

Handled by Our Salt Lake City Relocation Lawyer

The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction or Hague Abduction Convention is an international law treaty which creates a remedy for victims of child abduction, those who violate an existing custody order in any jurisdiction throughout the world, or those who seek relief when a custody order does not exist. The Hague Convention remedy comes into play when parents live abroad, and one of the parties decides to return to the United States with a child as a U.S. citizen, or when a foreign national seeks a determination of custody by a U.S. Court—usually in the divorce context.

If you have any legal needs pertaining to the Hague Convention, call our Salt Lake City relocation lawyer at Ted Weckel, Attorney at Law today at (801) 845-9029 for a consultation.

Withdrawing a Child to Another Country

Under the Hague Convention (which has been ratified and codified by Congress), courts frown upon unilateral withdrawals of children from one country to another without court permission. Under the Hague Convention, there is a defense to abduction when there is a grave risk that return will expose the child to physical or psychological harm.

Other defenses exist as well. For example, if a parent acquiesces to the relocation, the removal is permitted. Acquiescence is proven on a case-by-case basis, and by the unique facts of the case. For example, if one parent tells the other parent after the departure that he/she approves of the departure, or so testifies in a court proceeding, such facts tend to prove that the parent acquiesced to the move. Additionally, a parent can consent to the departure before the parent leaves the country. Finally, for older children who have been living in a country for over a year, if the children prefer living in the country to which they have moved, a court will generally grant the child’s wishes to remain where they are currently living. For the grave risk of harm defense, it is helpful—if not essential—to have the assistance of a clinical psychologist who can testify about the harm the child is facing upon return to the originating country. Knowledge of international law is not essential to raise a defense or to file a suit in the state of local jurisdiction or the local federal district court. Ted Weckel, Attorney at Law has represented clients in both the state and the United States District Courts in Utah on Hague Convention claims.

Contact our relocation lawyer in Salt Lake City today at (801) 845-9029 to schedule your initial consultation and learn more about how we can help you.

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