Although the Hague Convention on International Child Abduction heavily favors the return of the child, there are some exceptions built into the law that allow judges discretion not to return the child under very specific circumstances. The most commonly used exception is when there is a grave risk that returning the child would result in physical or psychological harm or otherwise place the child in an intolerable situation. Different courts have interpreted this standard in varying ways, but generally this “grave risk” standard is defined very strictly and only the most severe cases will result in the child not being returned.
Once a ruling of wrongful removal and return is issued by a court under the Hague Convention on International Child Abduction, the officials in that country should work to return the child as quickly as possible to his or her home country. However, this ruling is not a final determination of the custody rights of the child. Rights relating to the custody and residence of the child should be litigated in the child’s home country after the return.
If you have any questions about the Hague Convention, please contact our office to set up a legal consultation.