This scenario is happening more often than ever before – the classic baby abduction by a parent. According to the Economist article I read this weekend, about 68% of abductors are the moms. I have to say I was slightly surprised by that statistic. But if you really think about it, it makes sense.
It seems that most of these abductions are international abductions that take place in foreign countries. This obviously triggers the Hague Convention, that treaty between nations that children who are abducted and taken to other signatory nations will be returned to the custodial parent in the country where the child was abducted.
But as the article pointed out, the Hague Convention is just a piece of paper to some countries and is not enforced. So that when a custodial parent sends his/her child to, say, a country like Brazil, or Bulgaria, Poland or Venezuela, they are really taking a big chance that they will never see the child again after sending the child for vacation with the other parent – even though these and nine other countries cited by the article, are signatories of the Hague Convention. Here is some additional info from that report on the Economist:
In most Muslim countries, for example, the assumption is that children over seven will be brought up by the father, not the mother, though that is trumped by a preference for a local Muslim parent. So the chances of a foreign mother recovering abducted children from a Muslim father are slim. Apart from secular Turkey and Bosnia, no Muslim countries have signed the Hague Convention, though a handful have struck bilateral deals, such as Pakistan with Britain, and Egypt and Lebanon with America.
See our related post on Sharia Law and Your Divorce here:
So, when your ex kidnaps the baby and takes the baby to a foreign country, getting the baby back will come down to whether the country to which the baby was taken is a member of the Hague, and if so, whether that country enforces the Hague or whether they treat the Hague and it’s provisions as, how can I say? Toilet tissue.
We did a post a few months back about the countries which are signatories of the Hague. It may or may not be the most recent compilation, but you can find the post, along with other related Hague Convention posts here: http://www.divorcesaloon.com/index.php?s=hague+convention
But. So. What else? Well, these are the countries I think are current signatories of the Hague Convention: Albania, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Bosnia, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, China, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Ecuador, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Latvia, Lithuana, Luxembourg, Malta, Mexico, Monaco, Montenegro, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa , Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States, Uruguay and Venezuela
Obviously, in the vast majority of these countries, if your baby is abducted by the non-custodial parent, you will have a legal remedy as the country is likely to enforce the Hague. But there are some countries, according to the Economist, that you have to be careful about – and I would venture to say that in those countries where women are not even viewed as “equal” to men and where the men are the presumptive custodial parent, you’ve got to be extra careful about vacations abroad and other access. Because you will not have any legal recourse once the child is removed from the American jurisdiction (or where ever you live, I say American because this is where I live) and taken to a rogue, or even “fringe” jurisdiction.
Here in the U.S. What if your ex kidnaps the baby and takes the baby to another state? Well, you stand a better chance, by far, of getting the baby back if the baby is right here in the U.S. than taken to foreign countries with different languages, cultures and laws. But obviously, that is if you are able to find your spouse. Sometimes you can’t. And a lot of times, people don’t understand that if they don’t have an order of custody from a court, it is not that easy to accuse your ex, who is equally the child’s “parent” of kidnapping. Both parents are presumed to have custody of the child if there is no order of custody that is signed by a judge.
With an order of custody, as the custodial parent, you can then get law enforcement to help you recover the child. The statute that governs these issues is the UCCJEA – the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act. I am not going to bore you with all the provisions of that statute, but it applies in all states in the Union, and it is the law which would force the state to which your baby was abducted and taken, to allow you to take the child back. And the courts of the abductor state could not hear the case. It would have to be heard in the state where you and the baby are “domiciled.”