What does the Hague Convention mean with regard to child custody?

On Behalf of | Aug 16, 2021 | Family Law |

Residents of New York as well as Munich, Germany may want to learn more about the impact of the Hague Convention when it comes to child custody and international residency. If you have child custody in the U.S., it may not receive recognition in Munich or another European country.

According to the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Consular Affairs, the purpose of the Hague Convention is for two countries to work together to resolve international abduction cases by two countries.

What is the Central Authority?

After agreeing to the Hague Convention, each country, such as the United States and Germany, must have a Central Authority. In the event of an abduction of a child, this is the point of contact for parents as well as governments.

Is proof of custody necessary if the other parent takes your child from the U.S. or Germany?

No, the Hague Convention allows proof according to the regular home of the child. This is often shown as proof of marriage or parenthood. The immigration status of a child or their parents is not considered in the return of a child.

Is there an age limit to the Hague Abduction Convention?

Yes, the child must be under the age of 16 for the child custody considerations of the Hague Convention. They must be a resident of one of the member countries.

An example is if a 12-year-old child lives in Germany with a custodial parent and visits New York to see their other parent, only for the New York parent to not return the child to their home in Germany. This would be a case considered under the Hague Convention.

If there is risk to a child, they may not return

The court may deny the return of an abducted child if there is grave risk. Physical or psychological harm might be the result of a return. The child might object to a return to their home, and the court will consider their maturity when making its decision.

To continue with the example above, if the German child has become settled in New York and a year has passed, the petition to return them might be denied under the Convention. The court may rule that the German parent consented to the child’s move. However, this can also work in favor of that parent, as the court may consider it a sign of a responsible parent.