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Children’s Rights Litigation

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The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction may sound intimidating, but is easily demystified. Since 1980, signatory nations have agreed that parents should not be permitted to forum shop among countries when it comes to custody of their children. The Hague Convention requires the prompt repatriation of children under 16 years of age who were wrongfully removed by a parent from the country in which they had been living, except in certain very limited circumstances (some of which are discussed in more detail, below). The Convention does not address or permit the alteration of custody rights, even temporarily, though as a practical matter, denying a repatriation petition usually results in physical custody going to the relocated parent (sometimes called the “abducting” or “removing” parent). The treaty contains some limited exceptions to repatriation, and these few exceptions form the basis for much of the Hague Convention litigation in the United States.


©2014. Published in Children's Rights Litigation, Vol. 16, No. 4, Summer 2014, by the American Bar Association. Reproduced with permission. All rights reserved. This information or any portion thereof may not be copied or disseminated in any form or by any means or stored in an electronic database or retrieval system without the express written consent of the American Bar Association or the copyright holder.



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