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The Hague Convention on International Kidnapping


In 1980, a group of nations came together at The Hague in the Netherlands to discuss how to make civil cases of international child abduction between member nations easier to manage. Prior to this convention, abduction laws between two nations could vary greatly, and there was no certain way to determine the jurisdiction of the case. After the convention, measures were drawn up and ratified—going into effect in the United States in 1988—giving member nations a clear set of rules to follow in case of an international abduction dispute.

Proving the Merit of a Hague Abduction Convention Case

According to the rules established by the Hague Convention, a valid abduction claim is filed in the left-behind parent’s jurisdiction, not in the country where the kidnapped child was taken. However, this left-behind parent will need to prove the following in order for his or her case to be considered “valid” under the convention’s standards:

  • The child is younger than 16 years old at the time of the claim being filed
  • The child was removed to or retained in a member country, while the left-behind parent was also from a member country
  • The child was a habitual resident of a Hague Abduction Convention member country

If the parent or custodian filing a claim cannot prove these three items, the claim may not proceed. However, even if the claim is accepted, the parent or custodian still has to successfully argue his or her full civil abduction case. The Hague Convention claim simply establishes that the case will occur in the plaintiff’s home jurisdiction.

Contact Us

If your child has been abducted and taken out of the country, you may be able to utilize the powerful legal framework of a Hague Abduction Convention case to pursue action for the child’s return. To learn more about how we may be able to help you with these complex cases, contact the attorneys of Diggs & Sadler at 713-766-5355 today.

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