Child Abduction: Background
Child abduction is one of the most difficult situations a parent can experience. It occurs when one parent takes the children to a foreign country without the other parent’s consent. Child abduction usually happens during divorce proceedings, when the parties are in a custody dispute, and it requires an immediate response to ensure the child’s return.
What is Child Abduction?
According to the law, taking a child from their permanent place of residence without the consent of both parents is considered abduction. This act of taking the child abroad unilaterally harms the child first and foremost, as their daily routine is suddenly disrupted. It also violates the other parent’s right to custody of the child.
It should be emphasized that even failing to return a child as required by law after leaving the country for a limited period with consent is considered abduction. For example, if the other parent has consented to travel to another country for a vacation or to visit family, but the parent does not return with the child to Israel. Of course, this does not refer to a delay of a few hours or days due to a legitimate reason, but rather to leaving the child abroad with no intention of returning.
Child abduction usually occurs during a divorce dispute between the parents and is unfortunately used in many cases as a tactic by the abducting parent to achieve their desired outcome.
The Hague Convention
Child abduction is a global phenomenon, which is why the Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction was signed in 1980. Its purpose is to ensure the return of abducted children to their country of origin. Many countries have signed this convention, including Israel, and each country is obligated to assist other member states in returning abducted children to their country of permanent residence.
It is important to note that the convention includes cases in which the child will not be returned to their country of origin, such as when it is proven that the child has acclimated to the new country and that returning them to their country of origin would cause further harm. Therefore, it is of utmost importance to seek legal representation immediately, in order to prevent such a situation and, certainly, to avoid creating the impression that the parent in Israel has given up custody of the child due to procrastination.
Seeking Legal Representation
Upon discovering the abduction, it is essential to immediately contact a lawyer specializing in family law and with experience in child abduction cases. The lawyer will develop a suitable legal strategy based on the circumstances of the case and will work to ensure the child’s return to Israel.
As a rule, this is done in one of two ways:
Contacting the relevant authority in Israel that deals with this issue, which will then contact the corresponding authority in the country where the child is located.
Alternatively, a local lawyer can be located in that country who will file a petition with the court requesting the child’s return to Israel.
It should be emphasized that any delay in filing a request for the child’s return, through any channel, can harm the chances of their return, which is why it is so important not to delay seeking legal representation.
I hope this translation is helpful. Please let me know if you have any other questions.
Here are some additional resources about child abduction:
The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction: <כתובת URL לא תקינה שהוסרה>
The International Center for Missing and Exploited Children: https://www.missingkids.org/home
The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children: https://www.missingkids.org/home
If you believe your child has been abducted, please contact your local law enforcement agency immediately.