In the past, we’ve talked about what to do if your ex has taken your children to another state and you’re trying to get them back. While it’s not an impossible situation, it is one that requires the expertise of a lawyer who has experience working on these kinds of cases. It requires coordination with judges and lawyers in other states and an ability to communicate effectively.
But what about if your ex has taken your children to a whole other country? That’s a situation that the Law Office of Lisa A. Vance is familiar with — in fact, I’m working on a case right now involving children in an African country whose parent wants them back. In some ways, it’s like the interstate cases, but it’s definitely more involved. And though some of the principles are the same in each of the cases, they can also require different tactics depending on which country you’re dealing with.
In many of these cases, it starts with trying to get the children back under Article 21 of the Hague Convention on International Child Abduction, which deals specifically with “securing the effective exercise of rights of access.” The Secretary of State’s Bureau of Consular Affairs is the first place to go; from there, a representative will work to connect the lawyer with a family advocate in the part of a country where the children are staying.
Since these are essentially kidnapped children, authorities do take them seriously, and they can move faster than you might expect. However, there are some things to keep in mind that might impact your particular case.
For one, not every nation abides by the Hague Convention. Japan is one of those, so if you were trying to get your children back from Japan, you would still need to coordinate internationally, and the Secretary of State could be of assistance in the case, but it would follow Japanese law rather than the international legal agreements under the Hague Convention.
Also, some countries are generally more matriarchal in family law matters, so if you’re a father trying to bring kids back to the U.S. from Mexico or Italy, to cite two examples that stand out, it will likely be more difficult than it would be for other nations. Of course, the particulars of the situation, and whether or not you believe your children to be in danger, can impact the case and the speed at which authorities will work to resolve it.
If you’re trying to bring your children back to the U.S. from another nation, the Law Office of Lisa A. Vance has the experience and resources to advocate for you, and an initial consultation will get the process started. While it can be difficult waiting and hoping to bring your children back, we have the experience and past successes that will help assure you something’s being done when we sign the agreement saying we’re on your team.