Can a child be voluntarily returned under the Hague Convention?

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Abducting parents are free to return the abducted child voluntarily, even after the start of Hague litigation. Voluntarily returning a child to his or her home country is also often cheaper than engaging in a drawn out and difficult legal battle and may result in more favorable negotiation and cooperation between the parents in the future.

Having the abducting parent voluntarily return the child is also much cheaper for the two governments involved in the return since it avoids the expense of arraigning a case under the Hague Convention.  Therefore, some central authorities have instituted programs to promote voluntary return of children undergoing a Hague proceeding.  For example, the central authorities in Australia, Canada and New Zealand will pay for the return airfare of children who are voluntarily returned before a Hague Convention case is completed.

If you have a question about the Hague Convention, please contact our office for a legal consultation.