The speed with which proceedings under the Hague Child Abduction Convention can be a surprise to many parents and lawyers that are not experienced in the application of the Hague Child Abduction Convention.
Carter O’Neill can assist you with their expertise in handling matters involving child recovery under the Convention.
What is a Hague Convention case?
The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction is an international treaty under which arrangements are made for the return of children who have been wrongfully removed from or retained outside their country of habitual residence.
The Convention sets up a central authority in each signature country to deal with applications for the return of children taken to or from each country. The Australian Government Attorney-General’s Department is the central authority for Australia.
Principles, aims and conditions
A Hague matter is not a private family law matter and the Court does not have to consider “the best interests of the child”.
The Hague Convention operates on the guiding principles that:
- The child’s welfare is best protected by a rapid response to a parent having removed a child from their country of habitual residence, and
- Child abduction in general must be prevented.
The Convention aims to:
- Secure the prompt return of a child wrongfully removed to or retained in a country which is party to the Convention (‘contracting state’) to the country (‘state’) of habitual residence
- Ensure that rights of custody and/or access of the state of origin are respected, with judgement on the custody to be rendered in that country, on the assumption that the court in the country of habitual residence is best able to make decision for the child, and
- Ensure the relevant court in the country of habitual residence is best able to make decisions for the children.
The Convention operates under the following specific conditions:
- It applies only between contracting states, and so only has force where both countries are signatories to the Convention
- It applies only to matters where the subject child is under the age of 16. Proceedings under the Convention cease on the day a child turns 16, and
- The child must have habitually resided in a contracting state directly before rights of custody or access were breached.
If your child has been abducted or is at risk, contact us today for a confidential consultation with one of our experienced family lawyers in Mona Vale, NSW.