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How can the Hague Convention help you get your kids back?

If you are a divorced Michigan parent whose foreign-born ex-spouse takes your children overseas for a visit and fails to return them, this obviously is a serious situation. Unfortunately, parental abduction represents a not uncommon phenomenon, and when the abduction is to a foreign country, it makes for an even more serious and complicated situation.

Fortunately, the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction may offer you the help you need to get your kids back. As explained by the The Hague Conference on Private International Law, 98 countries, including the United States, signed this international treaty in 1980. In it, the countries agreed to recognize, respect and adhere to each other’s child custody laws. They also agreed to work together to return any internationally abducted child to his or her “habitual residence,” that is, the country in which the child normally resides, as expeditiously as possible.

Convention application for assistance

If you desire help under the treaty, you must apply to the Convention’s Central Authority in the United States. As part of your application you should include the following:

  • Full identification information pertaining to yourself, your ex-spouse and the child(ren) (s)he currently has in his or her possession
  • The birth date of each abducted child
  • The grounds under which you are asking for assistance
  • Any and all information in your possession regarding your child(ren)’s current whereabouts
  • Any and all information in your possession regarding the person(s) you suspect has/have your child(ren)

Supporting documentation

The more information you supply the Central Authority, the easier and quicker it can help you regain your children. Consequently, you should include a certified or verified copy of the following in support of your application:

  • Your divorce decree
  • Your custody order
  • Your parenting plan
  • All other pertinent information proving you have sole or joint legal custody of your child(ren)

As soon as the Central Authority processes and investigates all of the above information, it will start working with the country where your child(ren) currently is or are to get your child(ren) returned to you as quickly as possible. This is general educational information only and not intended to provide legal advice.

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