Along with jurisdictional issues within the United States, it is also becoming more and more common to have international jurisdictional issues. And when a child is abducted to a foreign country there is a remedy and it is a Hague Treaty.
As an example, I have a case where the parties are still married, no divorce papers have yet been filed, but the Wife, a Canadian citizen, has taken the parties child, against the will of my client, to Canada where she is staying with her parents.
- We know where she is living;
- No divorce case has yet been filed;
- Nevertheless, under Hague, we can and are petitioning the Canadian court to return the child to Georgia.
- Demonstrating the child’s country of HABITUAL RESIDENCE. This is not the country of citizenship, but where the child has actually lived. In our case, in Georgia.
- The removal was against the will of the petitioning party;
- And the child is removed in violation of the parents custody rights.
- In Georgia, and California, even if a custody or divorce case is not yet filed, and the parties are married, removal by one spouse, against the will of the other spouse is against the parent’s custodial rights as both parents have equal rights to custody.
The usual defense is that returning the child is a danger to the child, or that the removal was consensual, or the removal was not in violation of the other party’s custody rights, or the other party was not actually exercising those custody rights. There is also a time limit of 1 year, so act quickly.
As with most laws there are complexities that I’m not going to go into here, but if an international abduction occurs, please contact us or call today to learn how Shaw Law can work with you to achieve the best outcome possible for you and your children.
Scott Shaw is founder and principle of Shaw Law Firm LLC, founded in 1995 and dedicated solely to divorce, family law and child custody matters that must be addressed and decided in the state of Georgia. Shaw Law Firm serves the greater Metro Atlanta area, particularly the counties of Fulton, Gwinnett, Cobb, Cherokee, Forsyth, Paulding, Henry, Fayette, Coweta, Newton, Walton, Bartow and Douglas. Schedule a consultation today at 770-594-8309.