Child abduction by one of the parents — how to return a child from abroad?

Is it true that I will commit a criminal offence if I take my child out of the country or keep the child in another country without the consent of the other parent?

Not necessarily. In this country, it is only a criminal offence to take a child out of the country without the request permission.

  There is currently an inconsistency between the criminal and civil offence of child abduction in this country when the perpetrator is the child’s parent.

Whereas the 1980 Hague Convention relates to both wrongful removal and wrongful retention of children, a criminal offence under s 1 of the Child Abduction Act 1984 is not committed when a parent lawfully removes a child from the UK but then retains the child beyond the agreed deadline.  Accordingly only wrongful removals are a criminal offence in this country.  If you commit a wrongful removal the matter can be referred to the police and parents are frequently prosecuted for this offence. Being found guilty carries a risk of a prison sentence!

There is also a risk that your child may be taken from you and handed to the other parent or to another suitable relative until the possible return of the child and/or future care has been resolved.­ If there is no suitable adult to look after the child, as a last resort the local authority may be asked to take the child into care although this is rare.­

Upon your return to the child’s country of residence, the police may take passports and other travel documents from you to prevent the risk of further abductions.­ These will not normally be returned until the arrangements for the future care of your child have been resolved.­

It is irrelevant if you are the parent with whom the child mainly lives, perhaps solely lives and/or you are returning to your home country and/or the other parent’s physical or financial behaviour towards you is making your life intolerable.­ Return of the child will still be ordered although safeguards for you and your child will normally be put in place for you on your return.­

So what is child abduction?­

It arises in one of two ways.­ First, taking a child abroad without the permission of the other parent (and anyone else with parental responsibility).­ This is known as “wrongful removal”.

­ Secondly if you had permission to take a child abroad for a period of time e.g. a holiday, retaining that child abroad at the end of the agreed period.

­ This is known as “wrongful retention” which is treated the same as wrongful removal.­

Child abduction proceedings in England for the return of a child abducted here are always in the High Court, dealt with by very experienced, specialist judges and with the parent whose child has been abducted being legally represented, often free of charge, by highly specialist and effective lawyers.­

What is the Hague Convention?­

It is a worldwide agreement entered into by about 80 countries with the intention to secure the fast return of abducted children to the country from which they have been abducted.­ Governments, police and courts work together very closely, including between countries.

­ Often free legal representation is available to the parent whose child has been abducted, irrespective of their means and financial circumstances.­ The courts of the country to which the child has been abducted should not normally deal with issues of residence and contact, save for interim arrangements and other protections.

­ Their concern is the early return of the child.­ There are only narrow defences to a Hague Convention abduction and they rarely succeed.­

Within Europe, the procedures and timetables are even tighter and more vigorously enforced with less opportunity to oppose a return order.­ This law is known as Brussels II.­ If a child is not returned, the courts of the country from which the child was taken can still make an order, known as a “trumping order”, requiring the child’s return.­ This order takes effect across Europe.­

If my child has been abducted to England from a Hague convention country, can I approach any English lawyer to act for me?

Yes but that lawyer will then need permission from the Ministry of Justice to do so free of charge under the Hague Convention.­ Normally the Ministry of Justice only instruct lawyers on a specialist panel who will be able to represent you free of charge.­ International children work, and especially child abduction work, is a specialisation and requires special expertise.­

International child abduction

This article is about International child abduction. For child kidnappings for ransom and other forms of international child exploitation, see Child trafficking.

form of human trafficking

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The term international child abduction is generally synonymous with international parental kidnapping, child snatching, and child stealing.[1] However, the more precise legal usage of international child abduction originates in private international law and refers to the illegal removal of children from their home by an acquaintance or family member to a foreign country. In this context, «illegal» is normally taken to mean «in breach of custodial rights» and «home» is defined as the child's habitual residence. As implied by the «breach of custodial rights,» the phenomenon of international child abduction generally involves an illegal removal that creates a jurisdictional conflict of laws whereby multiple authorities and jurisdictions could conceivably arrive at seemingly reasonable and conflicting custodial decisions with geographically limited application. Such a result often strongly affects a child's access and connection to half their family and may cause the loss of their former language, culture, name and nationality, it violates numerous children's rights, and can cause severe psychological and emotional trauma to the child and family left behind.[2]

There is a common misconception that because the abductor in these cases is usually not a stranger the children are not in danger.[3] The harmful consequences for children and families have been shown in several studies and child abduction has been characterized as a form of parental alienation and child abuse.

[4] Adding international dimensions to the detrimental effects of child abduction significantly increases the detrimental effects on children and families.

The modern day ease of international travel and corollary increase in international marriages is leading to a rapid rise in the number of international child abductions.[2]

Definition

International child abduction occurs when one parent unlawfully takes (or retains) a minor child in a country other than the one the child has his/her habitual residence.

If that country is a party to the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction (applicable to children under 16), then the child will usually be returned to the country of origin. If there is a conflict of law between two countries, the guardian must follow the laws of the country where the child physically present.

It is very common that a parent that has legal custody of the child in the country where the child physically present, is wanted for parental abduction in another country.

In such cases the child cannot be removed from the country where the child physically present, before child custody ends at age 18, because otherwise the child will not be returned to the taking parent. This does not have anything to do with children's rights or welfare, only parental rights.

According to the law the left behind parent is legally the only victim if the child is not returned before child custody ends at age 18. This would also be the case if the child does not want the taking parent to go to jail and does not want have anything to do with the left behind parent. Children have no say in a child custody dispute involving themselves even when they turn 18 years old and are legal adults and child custody becomes moot.

According to the law when the child is 18 or older, it legally does not make a difference if child is returned, because child custody becomes moot. Further legal proceedings with regard to it can have no effect.

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For example it is a criminal offense under United States federal law for the Japanese mother to take and or retain her children in Japan, while under Japanese law it is a criminal offense for the American father to take the same children back to the United States.

According to the law of their respective country both parents are correct. Because the children are in Japan both parents must comply with Japanese law (not American law).

Both parents are only concerned over their parental rights not their children's welfare, and will not respect the others parents legal parental rights under the laws of the other country.

On many occasions parents of Indian origin have taken a child to India and have immediately sought favorable custody orders from the Indian courts.

Usually such efforts will not be recognized in the United States and they may well be counterproductive. A U.S. court will not permit parents to evade U.S. jurisdiction by the subterfuge of a parent taking the child to another jurisdiction.

This would even be the case, of the pre-decree abduction was not illegal under state law.

Origin of the term

International child abduction: An overview

This article deals with the most common form of child abduction – parental child abduction.

A parent is not permitted to make a unilateral decision to relocate with their child without the other parent’s consent.

Parental child abduction takes two forms:

  • Wrongful removal – when a parent makes a unilateral decision to take a child abroad without the consent of the other parent; and
  • Wrongful retention – when a parent seeks to retain a child abroad beyond the time that had been agreed with the other parent.

Parental abduction is a troubling global phenomenon that affects a large number of families each year.

Please bear in mind that you are not permitted to abduct your child just because you are seeking to take your child to a country that you consider ‘home’, or you are the parent with whom the child lives, or the other parent is making your life intolerable.

Many parents will be surprised to learn that child abduction is a criminal offence in a number of countries, including England and Wales. A parent is not permitted to make a unilateral decision to relocate with their child without the other parent’s consent. The offence of parental child abduction carries a maximum penalty of 7 years’ imprisonment in England and Wales.

The 1980 Hague Convention

Its purpose is to secure the speedy return of abducted children.The 1980 Hague Convention is an international convention (treaty) involving over 95 countries. Its purpose is to secure the speedy return of abducted children.

The courts of the country to which the child has been abducted should not make welfare decisions pending the outcome of the application and the application should be determined ideally within 6 weeks.

There are very few available defences to an application for a child’s summary return pursuant to the 1980 Hague Convention.

  1. A parent can seek to defend an application on the basis that the other parent consented to the move, either at the time of the removal/retention or subsequently.
  2. A parent can seek to defend an application on the basis there would be a grave risk of physical or psychological harm or it would place a child in an intolerable situation if a return was ordered. This is a high threshold. Practical matters can normally be overcome and even anxieties about domestic violence and the risk posed by the left behind parent can normally be overcome by suitable protective measures.
  3. The child themselves may object to returning but the court can still direct the return of a child even if they are found to object; and
  4. Finally, a defence can arise if the child has been settled in their new environment for 12 months. A parent applying to have a child returned should therefore ensure they make an application before the child has been in the other country for 12 months.

The 1980 Hague Convention applies to children who are less than 16 years old.

Children abducted to a country which is not a signatory to the 1980 Hague Convention

There are still many countries that are not yet signatories to the 1980 Hague Convention. Some non-signatory countries still cooperate in returning abducted children.

Some countries have entered into bilateral arrangements. However, a number of countries do not co-operate in returning abducted children.

Experienced and specialist legal advice and representation is always needed and must be sought as quickly as possible.

When the 1980 Hague Convention is not available to a parent (as their child has been taken from England and Wales to a non-Convention country) it is possible to ask the High Court to make the child a ward of the High Court (i.e.

subject to the protection of the High Court) and then to request orders to assist or encourage the abducting parent or the courts of the other country to order the child’s return.

This can even include the seizure of the abducting parent’s assets.

Preventing an abduction

International child abduction

Child abduction occurs when a child is removed from the person who has the
legal right to custody without that person’s consent or agreement.

International child abduction occurs when a child is:

  • Taken out of the country in which the child and the person who has the legal right to custody normally live (the child is unlawfully removed from a country)
  • Kept in another country where the child is visiting (the child is unlawfully retained in a country)

The abductor may be any person but frequently is one of the child’s
parents.

For example, a child who is in the custody of their mother in Ireland is
visited in Ireland by their father who lives in Spain. The child is then taken
back to Spain by the father without the consent of the mother. The child has
been abducted and unlawfully removed from Ireland by their father.

In another example, a child who is in the custody of their father in Ireland
may go to visit their mother in the USA. If the mother keeps the child there
beyond the agreed visiting time, the child been abducted and is unlawfully
retained in the USA by their mother.

So, an abduction may involve the wrongful removal or the
wrongful retention of a child.

International child abduction is a criminal offence in Ireland. A parent or
anyone else who unlawfully abducts a child may be convicted of the offence.

  • If you believe your child is at risk of abduction you should get legal
    advice and contact the Gardaí.
  • You can apply to the court requesting that it direct who should hold the
    passports, for example, you, the Gardaí, the courts.
  • If you are the legal guardian of your child (or have applied to be a
    guardian) you may contact the Passport Office and request that you be informed
    if the other parent applies for a passport for your child.

The Irish Centre for Parentally Abducted Children (ICPAC) (this organisation
is no longer operating) published an ICPAC
Prevention Pack (pdf) which provides information on the steps you should
take if your child is at risk of abduction. This includes advice on gathering
important information relating to your child, which will be required if your
child is abducted, as well as on other steps you can take to reduce the
risk.

Treoir also
has information on what you can do if you are concerned your child is at risk
of child abduction and the contact details of organisations that can help
you.

There is a Central Authority in each country to facilitate the return of
abducted children. The Central Authority in Ireland for international child
abduction is the Department of Justice (see Further information
below).

  1. If your child has been internationally abducted, you should contact the Central Authority in the
    Department of Justice immediately in order to set in motion the procedures
    required in the country to which the child has been abducted.
  2. All child abduction cases are treated as a matter of urgency.
  3. The Central Authority assists left behind parents by:
  • Collecting documentation and transmitting the application form to the foreign Central Authority
  • Arranging translations of all documentation, as necessary
  • Monitoring the progress of the application
  • Providing further documentation to the competent authority in the foreign state, as necessary
  • Providing regular updates to the left behind parent
  • Assisting, where appropriate, with an application for legal aid

The Central Authority for international child abduction in Ireland does not
charge for its services.

The main concern when international child abduction occurs is the safe
return of the child.

The matter of arranging for the return of a child who has been abducted
internationally is governed by international law. There are international
conventions and an EU Regulation which set out the rules that apply.

The EU Regulation applies to an abduction from one EU member state to
another. The international conventions apply to cases to which the EU
Regulation does not apply.

Child Abduction Matters

Here you will find practical advice on how and where to seek help in relation to child abduction. Although it is addressed mainly to parents, it will be equally valuable to anyone who has a residence or care order for a child.

International disputes concerning children are always distressing and difficult for all concerned, especially the children. Some cases are played out in the full glare of the media.

Each parent may believe that he or she has the right to have the child living with them or to have contact/access with the child.

As evidenced by recent news articles in the media international disputes concerning children continue to increase.

They are always distressing and difficult for all concerned, especially the children. Very often cases are played out in the full glare of the media.

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Each parent may believe that he or she has the right to have the child living with them or to have contact/access with the child.

Often a parent will have court orders providing for residence or contact. In general disputes about arrangements for children are decided by the courts of the country in which the child is located unless the parents agree. The nationality of the child will have little bearing on where the case is heard. 

Parents whose children are abducted or who have orders made by the courts in Northern Ireland for contact with their children living overseas hold high expectations of what the government and other agencies can do to help them.

While help is available, the arrangements with overseas countries are complicated and you are strongly advised to contact a solicitor or a Citizens Advice Bureau for legal advice. For details of solicitors with particular experience in this specialist field you may wish to contact the Law Society.

Procedural advice may be given by the International Child Abduction Unit, Operational Policy Branch of the Northern Ireland Courts and Tribunals Service in Belfast; Consular Division of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in London, the Passport Agency or Reunite: International Child Abduction Centre which is a charity specialising in assisting parents. Contact details for these organisations may be found at the section for Contact Details below

Parents who have brought their children to Northern Ireland from abroad and who are concerned as to the situation in which this action places them and their children may also approach the organisations listed in: Useful addresses and links for contact details to obtain information about the implications of their situation. If you are in this position you should also consider obtaining legal advice so that the situation can be resolved.

Further Information

Glossary of terms

The following terms you will come across

If your child has been abducted or you fear that abduction may occur in the future, it would be useful to have on hand as much of the following information as possible.

Checklist

If your child has been abducted or you fear that abduction may occur in the future, it would be useful to have on hand as much of the following information as possible.

Information about the child

  • full name
  • date and place of birth
  • passport number, date and place of issue
  • photographs or a physical description
  • any entitlement to a passport other than a British passport

Information about the person who has taken the child

  • full name including any prior or maiden name and any aliases if applicable
  • date and place of birth
  • passport number, date and place of issue
  • photograph or a physical description
  • occupation
  • probable date of departure
  • departure information including flights, train, ferry
  • details of ties to a foreign country, such as the names, addresses and telephone numbers of relatives, friends and business contacts

Copies of documents

  • any agreements or court orders which relate to the child
  • child's birth certificate
  • marriage certificate or divorce decree
  • name and address of solicitor if you have one

The Central Authority

The Child Abduction and Custody Act 1985 designates the Lord Chancellor as the Central Authority for England and Wales and the Department of Justice as the central authority for Northern Ireland.  In Scotland, the Secretary of State is the Central Authority.  The Northern Ireland Courts and Tribunals Service, discharges the functions of the Central Authority in Northern Ireland.

The duties of the Central Authority in Northern Ireland are carried out by the International Child Abduction Unit, Operational Policy Branch of the Northern Ireland Courts and Tribunals Service which is the designated Central Authority for Northern Ireland.

Application to the Central Authority

Although there is no specified form for making an application to a Central Authority under the Hague or European Conventions, in cases where a child has been abducted from Northern Ireland (outgoing cases) applicants are provided with an Application (Questionnaire) and Notes for Guidance.

  This enables the Northern Ireland Courts and Tribunals Service to send out an application which broadly follows the model suggested by the Hague Convention.  An application from another Convention country in cases where it is believed that a child has been abducted to Northern Ireland (incoming cases) will be accepted in any form, provided that it contains sufficient information.

  Requests for information and assistance are usually made by telephone or by letter.

Staff in the International Child Abduction Unit of the Northern Ireland Courts and Tribunals Service process applications and provide information to parents, solicitors and others on the steps they may take to recover children who have been removed unlawfully to or from Northern Ireland.  The Northern Ireland Courts and Tribunals Service communicates regularly with Central Authorities in other countries regarding cases, passing on information and providing assistance where necessary.

If your child has been taken to a Convention country (see Countries in the Conventions), you should contact the Northern Ireland Courts and Tribunals Service.

  You will be asked to provide brief details over the telephone and you will be sent an application/questionnaire to complete.  Alternatively, you can complete the application by using the Application (Questionnaire) on this website.

  The completed application should be sent in hard copy to the Northern Ireland Courts and Tribunals Service.

The Northern Ireland Courts and Tribunals Service is open from Monday to Friday (9 am to 5 pm) and the contact details for child abduction matters are:

The International Child Abduction UnitOperational Policy BranchNorthern Ireland Courts and Tribunals ServiceLaganside Courts Complex45 Oxford StreetBelfast

BT1 3LL

 

E-mail:  InternationalChildAbduction@courtsni.gsi.gov.ukTel:  +44 030 0200 7812 (Ext. 70008 or 70019).

The Law in Northern Ireland

In Northern Ireland child abduction involves both the civil and criminal law. However, once a child has been removed from the United Kingdom, parental abduction is usually treated as a civil matter.

  • The law in Northern Ireland

1996 Hague Convention

The 1996 Hague Convention, this is a Convention of the Hague Conference which covers a wide range of civil measures for protection concerning children.

It reinforces the Convention of 25 October 1980 on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction by underlining the primary role played by the authorities where the child habitually resides in deciding upon any measures which may be needed to protect them.

Legal Representation

Solicitors and barristers who are in private practice in Northern Ireland represent applicants in Convention cases before a Northern Ireland court. The Northern Ireland Courts and Tribunals Service does not represent applicants at court.

Countries in the Conventions

Countries which the Hague and European Conventions are in force with the United Kingdom — 

  • Countries in the Conventions

Enforcement of contact access/orders

Legal advice should be sought on enforcement outside the UK of court orders made in Northern Ireland dealing with parental responsibility.

  • Enforcement of contact access orders

How child abduction cases are handled and international agreements

Your child has been kidnapped, what to do?

Your child has been kidnapped, what to do?

Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction and its application in Armenia.

These comments are based on the life situations  set out  below.

› Armenian  couple  moved  to live in  Russia. After  1.5 year  mother    came  back  to   Armenia with the child to visit her  parents, and  later told  her  husband that  she didn’t intend  to  return.

› Armenian citizen  marries an  American. They live together  in Germany. After  divorce by  the   decision of  parties their  daughter  lives  with  her mother  in Armenia, and  spends holidays  in Germany with her  father. After a usual holiday  father  announces  that the  child  should  live  with him.

›  Father has turns  to our advocate  company  for  help as the  mother of  his  son is  going  to  take  the  child from Armenia  to  France for permanent residence without his permission.

REMEMBER: Every child has the right to contact with both parents!

The number of families in which the spouses are of different nationalities, has been steadily increasing, so in case of disputes should be taken into account the legal systems of  both  states involved, which significantly may differ from each other.That's why it became necessary to develop and apply unified procedures for the solution of international family disputes.

Nowadays Armenia is a party to several international agreements regulating family relations, in particular, the Hague Convention on 25 October 1980 (hereinafter — the Convention) on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, according to which any child who is unlawfully removed from the territory of habitual residence or held outside must be promptly returned home. The functions of the Central Body (hereinafter — CB)  for the implementation of the Convention in Armenia performs the Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Armenia.

  • The specialists  of  armenian  advocate  company  “Your  Jurisconsult” are  always  ready  to consult  you with  issues  relating to  the  application of Convention in 1980 in Armenia and will  help  You:
  • •    To get necessary  information support and assistance in drawing up of statements, statements of claim on revocation of the conclusions of government bodies, which are contrary to the Convention, to institute proceedings for the return of the child, who has illegally  been held;
  • •    To understand the specifics of the legal procedures in Armenia and in other countries.

•    To try to agree on the voluntary return of the child.What is kidnapping ? My child was kidnapped. What to do?

  1. Although in Armenia  one  of  the  parents  may leave  with a child without asking the permission of the other, in many member countries of the Convention it is a crime.
  2. Under the Convention, we are talking about international child abduction if:
  3. a) The child is under 16 years;
  4. b) the child has been permanently lived in Armenia (or in  the other member country of the Convention; citizenship of the child and the parents is irrelevant and not taken into account when deciding on the return );
  5. c) the child has been moved or held abroad without the consent of his/her legal representative.
  6. It is also necessary to note that the transition is meant by the moment of removal of the child outside the state of his/her residence, and hold — the first day after the agreed period for the return of the child.
  7. Your child has been kidnapped, what to  do?
  8. First  of  all  it’s necessary to  understand where has  just been taken your child,
  9. A) Member countries of the Convention:
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 List of  Member  countries, as well as the coordinates of the CB of different countries can be found on the website of the Hague Conference on Private International Law in the Section Child Abduction (http://www.hcch.net/index_en.php?act=text.display&tid = 21).

It’s important to know that the statement is necessary to submit as soon as possible. Time is an important factor. If the  statement will be  filed  later  than  a  year  after  abduction, chances  to return the  child become minimal.

B) Countries  not  taking  part  in Convention 1980.

If the country, where the child is, does not participate in the Convention or participate, but has not yet confirmed the recognition of Armenia as a member of the Convention, you can contact for  help:• the Police of the country where the child is presumed to be.• the  Consular Department of the MFA of Armenia.• CB of the country in which the child is held, to obtain information support.

Is  Convention in1980 applicable in your case?When considering the case you can refer to the Convention, if the child was abducted from a country participating in the Convention and recognized  the country where your child is presumed to be, as member of the  Convention (list of participating countries can be found at www.hcch.net), while abduction (retention) was held after the recognition of each other's countries, and if the child was under age 16 at the time of the abduction (retention).What to  do  if I  don’t know  where  your child is.

  • If the exact address is not known, but determined the country of possible stay of the child, with search may help:
  • • CB, by directing a request to the Central Body of the country to confirm a possible address.
  • • Local Police (specify the possibility to track credit cards, cell phone, e-mail through the police, and other trace  child’s location  and / or parent holding: medical and school records, etc.)

Get in touch with our lawyers on the phone +37410 32-02-02 or send an e-mail to info@jurist.am. Our experts can advise you on the possibility of applying the legislation this or that country, as well as will help to write a competent statement and monitor its implementation.

What is  going on after  filing  a statement?Once the application is accepted, the CB sends a request for assistance to the CB of that  country in order to ensure the exact location of the child and try to achieve  an  agreement between the parents.

Sometimes the very fact of the statement is enough to convince the parent who abducted the child to return voluntarily to avoid any further procedures.

If parents fail to reach an agreement by themselves, you can resort to mediation — negotiations with independent third parties to coordinate the process.

Benefits of Mediation:• It takes less time than litigation.• Provides an opportunity to discuss a wider range of issues related to the conflict.• Less interference in the family affairs, it’s not so publicly as in court.

• Significantly cheaper than representation of interests at trial.• Attitudes towards the agreements reached are more positive, as a result such arrangements are more stable.• In many cases the best solution for the children.

• Works for the future (achieving mutual agreement, it is easier to maintain civilized relations in the future).

  1. Disadvantages of mediation:
  2. What  to do if you have fear for abduction?
  3. Child abduction often happens unexpectedly. But parents who have experienced the abduction of their child, say that the abduction may be preceded by some signals:
  4. • the behavior of the other parent is changing, for example, more often occur  disputes on  the issues of education of children;
  5. • divorce was difficult, and there is disagreement regarding to the care and the right to communicate with the child;
  6. • the other parent has plans to move with the child to another country;
  7. • the other parent is directly threatening to kidnap the child.

• It may be a delaying tactic, should be clearly limited over the time.• Generally, the agreements reached as a result of mediation shall be executed voluntarily. However, if one of the parties refuses to fulfill the agreements, it is necessary to turn to the court.• If one side is significantly suppresses the other, or if one party blames the other for the violence it is better not to use.Advantages of mediation is much greater than the disadvantages, so this method of dispute resolution is in demand, especially in family conflicts.If you need a mediator, please contact our advocate company for advice.In case if parents cannot reach an agreement, the parent and his lawyer can file a claim for the return of the child. The application is submitted to the district court where the child is supposed to  be in the Republic of Armenia.No matter whether you have to turn to court or will be able to solve the situation before turning to the court, to return a child is a complicated legal process, so we advise to contact a lawyer who  is specialized in legal international private law.Believe me,  except  the  help of official  authorities, the services of a lawyer is  needed, both in Armenia and abroad. Turn  to the lawyer who will be able to clarify the legal issues related to the resolution of family conflicts, and will also represent your interests in court.It is also important to know that the Convention does not address issues of determining the place of residence of  the child, the court makes a decision solely on the child's return to the country of habitual residence. The decision on determining the place of residence of the child is  made by the appropriate court of the country of child’s habitual residence.

The threat of kidnapping does not mean that the kidnapping will take place. But this is the last signal for you to get acquainted with the concept of «kidnapping» and the ways of preventing it. However, the situation is complicated by the fact that each case of abduction is unique.

  • In case of divorce it is always better to conclude an agreement on upbringing of children with the definition of the order of parental rights.
  • If you suspect that the other parent is going to take away the child from the country without your consent, you may apply to the migration service to ban the leaving of the child.
  • Exceptions
  • The Convention requires the immediate  return of the child, however, if the other parent will be able to prove in court the existence of exceptional circumstances, the court may decide not to return the child. These exceptions are when:

• Actually legal custody has not been carried out, i.e. the parent who filed an application in fact hadn’t performed  parentalduties (Article 13);

  1. • There is a serious risk of causing physical or psychological harm to the child as a result of his return (Article 13);
  2. • A child objects to returning and reached an age and degree of maturity when his/her opinion should be taken into account (Article 13);
  3. • since the abduction has passed  more than a year, and  child has adapted to the new environment (Article 12);
  4. • the child's return would entail a violation of human rights and fundamental freedoms (Article 20).

In each case there  are  interpretation of these circumstances, and the final decision is determined solely by the court.

According to Armenian legislation a child is entitled to be heard in any judicial and administrative proceedings; child’s opinion reaching age 10 years is required to  be taken  into  account  except when it’s contrary to his/her  interests.

Should I go for a return kidnapping?Sometimes parents whose child has been kidnapped, taking such a desperate step as a return kidnapping. However, as practice shows, it only complicates the solution of problems faced by the family.

Besides the fact that kidnapping is illegal in many countries, it may affect the process of return in the future. The attempt of return abduction endangers child and others; creates a preconception in further court proceedings. In addition, there is no guarantee that this will be the last in the kidnapping chain.

Abducting the child, you constantly have to hide your location and live under the threat of a new kidnapping. And finally, your actions may cause serious psychological injury to a child.

The conflict has already caused him/her a harm, return kidnapping will only aggravate already existing difficult situation in which your child has been.

  • If you have any questions related to the application of  Convention, please contact us on the phone +3 (749) 32-02-02 or email info@jurist.am
  • Our experts can advise you on the application  of the Convention for your case and if necessary, provide legal services.
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