International Family Law Disputes: Child Abductions and Access

December 12, 2013


With a rise in international marriages, experts believe there is demand for an increased protection for children caught between fights parents after a relationship breakdown. One of the causes for this concern comes from increasing scenarios where one parent will abduct their own child from a marriage and travel to another country.

We at CM Lawyers want to ensure our clients completely understand family law and have compiled an easy-to-understand definition and summary of Parental Child Abductions.

Parental child abduction

Parental child abduction is defined by one guardian or parent taking their child from their home country without permission or without authorisation from court.

The primary legal agreement that covers this type of crime is the ‘Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction‘. This agreement is extremely vital for left-behind parents who seek to have a child returned to their home country.

An example of how this agreement can be of assistance is when a guardian or parent lives in another country; it may be extremely difficult to arrange access with their child due to the distance. This is where the Hague Convention provides communication support and access through telephone, Skype, email and other long-distance forms of contact.

The Application

In order to apply for legal access or return of a child, the Hague Convention has provided an easy-to-fill form that is fully recognised in Australia.

For your convenience, we have provided a link to these forms:

It should also be noted that certain applicants are eligible for financial assistance from the International Social Service (ISS) Australia, which may provide help with the cost of legal proceedings and even the cost of travel to collect and return a child.

Non-signatory Countries

Some legal issues arise when a child is taken to a country that isn’t a co-operative member of the Hague Convention. The countries that don’t actively participate in this agreement include China, Lebanon and Japan.

Though not impossible, if a child is taken to a country that doesn’t agree with the Hague Convention, it is very difficult for the other parent to get them back.

And even if a country is a signatory member, it is not guaranteed to locate the child or abducting parent.

Contact Us

CM Lawyers acknowledge that an issue like Parental Child Abduction is both complex and heart wrenching.

Being the experts in family law, we would love to help our clients understand this topic further and assist in any way with Hague Convention applications or legal advice.

So if you are in need of Family Law representation or advice, contact CM Lawyers, Marrickville.

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