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Preventing an international child abduction

As the world grows smaller and more people move to other countries for education and employment, the likelihood increases that people from different nations will marry and start a family. This can create some complex issues in a divorce, particularly if there are children involved. Colorado parents who have a child with someone from another country should be sure that they understand the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of Child Abduction.

The treaty addresses what happens if one parent takes a child to a different country without the permission of the other parent, and it has been ratified by 98 countries. It only applies in the country in which it is ratified, so the first thing a parent anticipating custody issues should look into is whether the other parent's country is a signatory. According to the Hague Convention, a child should be returned to the country that is the child's habitual residence. It also states that custody should be determined by the country that is the child's habitual residence.

There are situations in which determining which country is the child's habitual residence can be complex. However, parents should not delay in responding if they have an international child custody issue. Acting quickly can be an important element of ensuring that the Hague Convention is upheld.

A parent does not have to wait until an international abduction has occurred to take precautions. Parents who are worried about this possibility may want to talk to an attorney about what protections can be put in place. For example, it can be important to first get a court order in place dealing with custody. An attorney may be able to assist a parent in including certain provisions, such as forbidding either parent from taking the child out of the country.

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