Cases arising under the Hague Convention on International Child Abduction are supposed to move quickly from application to judgment. This expedited process is intended to return the child to his or her “home” jurisdiction as quickly as possible, avoiding the problem of the child adapting to his or her new location and then be forced to re-adapt upon return to his or her original home. To encourage speed in cases brought under the convention, Article 11 states that cases should reach judgment within 6 weeks. If a case lasts longer than 6 weeks, the petitioner has the right to question the court and receive an explanation as to why there has been such a delay.
In cases where an abducted child has been living in a new country with the abducting parent for more than a year, courts empowered under the Hague Convention have the discretion not to return the child if they find that the child has adapted to and settled in the new jurisdiction. While this may result in rewarding the abducting parent, this rule is designed to ease the burden on the child who would be forced to re-adapt to his or her old home if a return is ordered. Furthermore, it encourages non-abducting parents to file their applications quickly to ensure the prompt return of their children.
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