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When international abduction of a child occurs, you need an experienced legal team to help immediately.
Once a parent takes a child to another country or is suspected of doing so, it is critical to act immediately. Federal law prohibits a parent from taking a child out of the United States or keeping the child in another country with intent to obstruct the parent’s rights.
It may be necessary to get a Texas custody order in place quickly to give the left-behind parent a right to possession of the child. Some countries have agreements with the United States concerning international child abduction. One such agreement, commonly referred to as “The Hague Convention,” provides a way for parents to secure the return of a child abducted overseas to another country. Understanding how these international agreements work can get the cooperation of another country to force the return of the child to the U.S.
To take advantage of the legal tools available to have a child returned home, it takes experience and a detailed understanding of how the law works. This is no time to trust an attorney that is “learning on the job.”
Our attorneys have helped secure the safe return of children abducted to countries including Mexico, Guatemala, and Iraq. We have also served as consultants for attorneys unfamiliar with the complexities of international abduction cases. Our team stands ready to assist with these emergency issues.
Preventing International Abduction
Texas law allows a court to put measures in place to prevent abduction from happening in the first place. There are risk factors the court can consider, such as whether the parent has violated court orders (or threatened to do so) in the past, whether the parent lacks financial reasons to stay in the U.S., and whether the parent has engaged in planning activities, such as quitting a job or applying for a passport. An experienced attorney can help advocate for a court order that has restrictive measures in place. These measures can include requiring supervised visitation, passport controls, and giving one parent sole custody.
When these risk factors are present, an experienced attorney can provide guidance on out-of-court steps that can be taken. This can include takings steps to prevent the other parent from getting a passport from the U.S. State Department.
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