Robert G. Smith, PLLC

New York parents may get help getting their children back

The U.S State Department says that roughly 8,000 children were wrongfully abducted and taken to another country by their parents between 2008 and 2013. Of those taken to countries who are signatories to the Hague convention that deals with these matters, only half are returned. One of the biggest obstacles to returning children back to America has to do with diplomatic relations between countries.

Another issue has to do with the cost parents may incur going to hearings in two different countries. As cases can be delayed for years, the financial and emotional costs can be almost impossible for parents to deal with. However, two cases that have gotten widespread media attention may change how the United States deals with children who are taken illegally to foreign countries by their parents.

A bill proposed by a New Jersey representative was passed in July 2014 and signed into law. The bill would require the State Department to publish annually a list of countries that harbor at least one American child who was abducted by his or her parents. The goal is to shame the country into returning the child back to its parent in the United States. Economic sanctions could be a possible consequence for countries that don't abide by their obligations under the Hague convention.

When parents separate or get divorced, the issue of who gets custody of the children can be a contentious one. This is why the assistance of a family law attorney may be advisable for a parent who is going through the process. Legal counsel may be able to convince a judge that allowing such rights is in the best interest of the child. Having legal representation may also make it easier for a parent to negotiate a favorable resolution to a child custody dispute.

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