All Family Law, All Around the WorldSM

Helping Legal Counsel With Complex International Custody Matters

International child abduction and parental kidnapping cases are incredibly complex because they often require legal counsel to navigate the legal systems in two countries. It’s hard enough navigating the legal system here in Georgia. Now throw in foreign jurisdictions and oftentimes conflicting laws all in an effort to do what is in the children’s best interests.

At The Manely Firm, P.C., we know how complicated international family law cases can be, particularly child custody cases because we understand domestic and international laws. We know these cases sometimes require help from a team of talented attorneys, which is why we offer our services to other family law attorneys in Georgia, across the country, and around the world.

What Is International Parental Kidnapping?

International parental kidnapping occurs when one parent takes a child across international borders without the consent of the other parent or in violation of a court order. This act can be emotionally distressing for both the left-behind parent and the abducted child, making it crucial to address it promptly through legal channels.

The Hague Abduction Convention

The Hague Abduction Convention, formally known as the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, is an international treaty that aims to protect children from international abduction by a parent or guardian. It provides a legal framework for the prompt return of abducted children to their country of habitual residence.

The key principles of the Hague Convention include:

  1. Prompt Return: The Convention prioritizes the swift return of abducted children to their home country, where custody matters can be decided.
  2. Rights of Access: It ensures the right of both parents to have access to their children, promoting a child’s relationships with both parents.
  3. Limited Defenses: The Convention offers limited defenses for abducting parents, such as grave risk to the child’s safety or the child’s objection to return.

When Does the Hague Convention Apply?

The Hague Convention extends its reach to all instances of international child abduction when these specific conditions are satisfied:

  • The child resided in the United States before the abduction.
  • The nation to which the child has been taken is a signatory to the Hague Convention.
  • The child is below the age of 16.
  • The parent requesting the child’s return held decision-making authority and/or parenting time privileges when the child was abducted.

When the Hague Convention Does Not Apply

It’s important to note that the Hague Convention does not apply universally. There are situations and circumstances where its provisions may not be in effect. Here are key scenarios when the Hague Convention may not apply:

  • Non-Participating Countries: The most straightforward scenario is when the country to which the child has been abducted is not a signatory to the Hague Convention. In such cases, the treaty’s provisions cannot be enforced in that country.
  • Aged-Out Children: The Hague Convention is generally applicable to children under the age of 16. If the child has reached the age of 16 by the time legal proceedings begin, the treaty’s remedies may not be available.
  • Consent or Acquiescence: If the left-behind parent consented to or acquiesced in the child’s relocation or extended stay in the new country, the Convention may not be applicable. However, proving consent or acquiescence can be complex and varies by jurisdiction.

Circumstances Where the Child May Not Be Returned

Even when the Hague Convention applies, there are circumstances where the child may not be returned to the country of habitual residence. These include situations where the child’s return would expose them to physical or psychological harm or if the child objects to being returned and has reached an age where their views are taken into consideration. Legal complexities often surround these exceptions, emphasizing the importance of legal representation and expert guidance.

In international parental abduction cases, navigating the legal landscape can be daunting. Seeking the assistance of an experienced family law attorney, like Attorney Michael E. Manely and The Manely Firm, P.C., is essential. Contact us today at 844-887-5871 or online to learn more about how we can assist you.

Team Up With An Attorney Who Knows The System Well

Attorney Michael E. Manely is the only all family law attorney in the United States to secure a unanimous decision from the Supreme Court of The United States, Chafin v. Chafin, 133 S. Ct. 1017 (2013) and the Supreme Court of Georgia, McDermott v. McDermott.

He is the only Family Law attorney in the southeast to argue an international family law case before the U.S. Supreme Court. He also argued on behalf of a client in Costa Rica and prevailed before the Supreme Court of Costa Rica.

He has provided advice to attorneys serving clients locally and internationally on international child abductions and parental kidnapping cases. He has also appeared as an expert witness on this topic in the Georgia Superior Court.

Put Your Client’s Case In Trustworthy Hands

If you are representing an individual or family in an international custody or abduction case, let attorney Michael E. Manely help you build a strong case, enforce the Hague Convention, and help left-behind parents regain custody of their children.

To learn more about the services we provide or to retain our counsel, contact The Manely Firm, P.C., in Georgia. Call 866-687-8561 or contact us online.