International child abduction cases

Although it is against both federal and state law, some parents in Texas still experience the trauma of international child kidnapping by the other parent. Even in situations in which a parent initially takes the child out of the country legally for a scheduled visit, a failure to return the child in violation of the other parent's custodial rights is a violation of the kidnapping laws.

While all parental abductions are difficult, international ones are especially problematic. Although the parent can be criminally prosecuted and may face up to three years in prison, the first hurdle the other parent has is locating the child and the other parent and securing the child's return.

Some cases are governed by the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Parental Child Abduction, a treaty that governs signatory countries of which the U.S. is one. For adoptions in which a child is removed to a signatory country, the authorities in the other country will help secure the child's return to Texas. Not all countries are signatories to the treaty, however. For abductions in which a child is taken to a non-participating country, the child's abduction and return are usually handled by negotiations between the U.S. State Department and the foreign country's government.

It is unfortunate that some child custody disputes result in a parent's kidnapping the child in order to interfere with the other parent's custodial rights. When such a situation occurs, the parent whose parenting rights have been violated may require the help of both government agencies as well as a family law attorney in order to secure the child's safe return. It is important to seek help as soon as the parent is aware that their child has been abducted internationally by the other parent.

Source: Department of Justice , "International Parental Kidnapping", November 19, 2014

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