What Is the Hague Abduction Convention?
In 1980, countries from around the world came together to sign the Hague
Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction—also
known as the Hague Abduction Convention—a multilateral treaty between
countries establishing uniform rules and procedures for dealing with international
child custody issues.
In particular, the Hague Abduction Convention was established to combat
the harms that children suffer in custody disputes involving parents from
different countries where one parent decides to take and retain custody
of their child in a way that exceeds the terms of an applicable custody
order issued from another country’s court. Such conduct is commonly
known as international parental abduction.
The harms of international parental abduction are apparent in the disruption
it creates between the child and the other parent. When retaining custody
of a child in excess of the terms of a custody agreement, it interferes
with the parental rights of the other parent, as determined by the court
that issued the order.
The Hague Abduction Convention was designed to simplify the task of locating
children in international parental abduction cases and facilitate reuniting
them with the other parent. Under the terms of the Convention, member
countries must designate or establish a central authority that is responsible
for receiving and administering international custody claims.
The designated central authority for Hague Abduction Convention claims
primarily deals with two types of actions:
- Applications to return a child who was taken by international parental abduction
- Applications for coordinating or securing a parent’s rights for access
Recent Survey Data Regarding Hague Abduction Convention Claims
In 2015, a survey was conducted among the majority of Hague Abduction Convention
countries regarding more than 2,000 return applications and approximately
382 access applications. The results of the study indicate that roughly
86% of applications concerned the return of a child to their home country—also
known as their country of habitual residence. At the other end, only 14%
of the applications were for access rights of a parent.
Compared to previous surveys, the 2015 data suggests a slight trend involving
the increase of return applications and an accompanying decrease in access
applications. However, the survey shows an overall reduction in Hague
Abduction Convention applications between 2008 and 2015.
The 2015 survey data also shed light on what countries handled the most
applications, ranking the following nations from busiest to least busy:
The United States: 597 applications
England and Wales: 578 applications
Germany: 457 applications
Mexico: 306 applications
The 2015 survey also illuminated particular details concerning international
parental abduction cases, including data about abductors and abducted children.
Findings and Conclusions Drawn from the Data
According to the 2015 survey data on return applications, the vast majority
of abductors were mothers, who comprised 73% of the abductors, while fathers
constituted 24%. The remaining cases involved abductors who were grandparents
or other relatives. Furthermore, the majority of abductors were the child’s
primary or shared primary caregiver. Additionally, 70% of return applications
involved a single child, with 53% of children being male children.
The 2015 survey broke down the outcomes of return applications as follows:
28% Judicial Returns: 561 out of 2,002 return applications involved a judicial order for return,
with or without consent of the parties.
17% Voluntary Returns: 348 of return applications included a voluntary agreement for the child’s return.
16% Other: 318 applications ended with an agreement between the parties for the child
to remain in the requested state, closed due to the applicant’s
inaction—such as failing to provide all required documents—,
the child turning 16, or the abductor being arrested.
14% Withdrawn: 283 applications involved the applicant withdrawing the application.
6% Pending: 128 applications are considered pending outcomes.
3% Access Agreed or Ordered: 57 applications ended in a court ordering access to the child, or the parties
agreeing to child access.
3% Rejection: 64 applications ended with the central authority rejecting applications
for not being well-founded.
Discuss Your Case with an Attorney from Hanson Gorian Bradford & Hanich
If you are looking for an experienced family law attorney to consult about
your case, you should contact Hanson, Gorian, Bradford & Hanich. Our
attorneys have the knowledge and experience to advise you on complicated
issues of family law, including matters involving international child
custody pursuant to the Hague Abduction Convention.
Please call Hanson, Gorian, Bradford & Hanich at (951) 687-6003 or
contact us online for an initial consultation today.