Houston International Child Abduction Lawyer
International child abduction by a parent is a far more prevalent problem than many people realize. But there is hope, and through perseverance and mechanisms put in place by international treaty, many children are returned to their home country through safe, orderly means. In 2014 alone, 374 children were returned from foreign countries to their home in the United States by means of international treaty, and another 571 cases of abducted children were resolved through other means, according to U.S. government statistics.
At Lindamood & Robinson, our lawyers have years of experience in dealing with international child abduction cases. Along with their international colleagues, the Houston international child abduction lawyers at Lindamood & Robinson can provide support and expertise to a parent of a child who has been wrongfully taken to a foreign country (or who has wrongfully been brought into the U.S) necessary to restore the child to his or her proper home country.
International Agreements Provide a Pathway to Repatriation
The United States and some 70 other foreign countries are signatories to the Hague Convention of 1980, which provides that, if a child is under the age of 16 and wrongfully removed from the country that the child customarily resides in, then the child must be returned safely. A brief list of the countries which have signed on to the Hague Convention treaty, and therefore are required to participate in efforts to return abducted children include:
- United Kingdom
- Dominican Republic
All signatory countries agree that they will take “all appropriate measures” to return a child to his habitual home country where the child’s presence in the signatory country is in breach of the custody rights of a parent or other person under the law of the country in which the child was habitually resident immediately before the removal or retention of the child. What this means is that, if a child is taken from a person who lawfully had custody to another country, or if the child is not returned from a country where he or she was visiting, then that signatory country’s government should take all appropriate steps to obtain justice for the child, including:
- Locating the child;
- Preventing harm to the child; and Securing the voluntary return of the child or bringing about an amicable resolution of the custody dispute.
Working with an Lawyer in a Child Abduction Matter
In order to begin the process of securing the return of a child pursuant to the Hague Convention, a parent or other custodial person must file an action in either state or federal court. The court may hear evidence relating to the allegations regarding the proper custody of the child and the removal. The court may then involve a foreign authority and the U.S. State Department in attempting to resolve the matter.
At Lindamood & Robinson, our lawyers have the experience and knowledge to bring international child abduction matters on behalf of children unlawfully being kept in a foreign country or unlawfully being held within the US. These cases can be complex and challenging, but our lawyers are committed to seeing justice served for parents and children.
Contact a Houston International Custody / Child Abduction Lawyer
If you or a family member has been the victim of an international child abduction, help is available. Contact one of our Houston international child abduction lawyers today at 713-654-2112 for our Houston office or 281-486-6116 in Galveston County (by appointment only).