The Hague Convention on International Child Abduction is the main international treaty targeted at the problem of children being removed from their home country by one parent without the other parent’s permission. The main goal of the Hague Convention is to return things to the way they were before the wrongful abduction. Therefore, courts hearing cases arising under the Hague Convention should not consider the best interests of the child. Rather, ideally the court should only be considering whether removal of the child was wrongful.
Under the Hague Convention, the removal of a child from his or her home country will only be remedied if the removal is considered “wrongful.” A removal is “wrongful” if it is a breach of the custody rights of the other custodial parent. Furthermore, the breached custody rights must have been actually exercised at the time of the removal. In other words, a parent who has totally abandoned his or her child cannot argue that these custody rights were breached by the other parent’s removal of the child. However, the total abandonment of a child is a very high bar and most parents who don’t actively avoid responsibility and interaction with their child will not be considered to have totally abandoned their custody rights.
If you have any questions about the Hague Convention, please contact our office to set up a legal consultation.