If you are a Texas parent whose children’s other parent is from and/or has family ties to another country, you may worry that (s)he will take your children overseas for a visit and refuse to return them. In the event this should happen, you may be able to avail yourself of the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. This treaty among 98 countries gives parents like you an expeditious method for getting your children back.
The Hague Conference on Private International Law drafted this Convention document in 1980. The Conference had two objectives: to return internationally abducted children to their home country as quickly as possible and to ensure that each member country abide by every other country’s child custody laws and regulations.
The application process
To obtain assistance, you must file an application with the Convention’s Central Authority in the United States. Your application must include the following:
- All identifying information not only for yourself, but also for each of your children who their other parent did not return
- The birth date of each of these children
- Your grounds for applying for assistance
- All information you have pertaining to your children’s present whereabouts
- All identifying information you have pertaining to the person(s) you believe has or have your children
Be sure to include as much information as possible in your application. If you are divorced from your children’s other parent, include verified copies of your divorce decree, order of custody, parenting plan and other court documents. This proves that you have legal custody of your children, whether sole or joint, and helps the proper authorities find and return them.
While this information is not legal advice, it can help you understand the Hague Convention child retrieval process and what to expect.