What is the Hague Convention?
The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction is a multilateral treaty which provides a mechanism for returning a child internationally abducted by a parent from one member state to another. 89 states are parties to the Hague Convention, including Canada and the United States. (For the purposes of the Hague Convention, an international child abduction refers to a situation where a parent, guardian or another person who has lawful care of the child wrongfully removes that child from their country of “habitual residence” or wrongfully retains that child in a member state not their country of habitual residence.)
Who Does it Apply to?
The Hague Convention only applies to children under the age of 16. Under the treaty, a court in a country which is a party to the treaty can order the return of an abducted child to the country of the child’s “habitual residence.” A parent whose child has been abducted to or wrongfully retained in a country which is a party to the Hague Convention may bring an application for the prompt return of the child. However, the applicant only has one (1) year from the date of the wrongful removal or retention of the child in which to commence proceedings.
If you have questions or concerns relating to a situation to which the Hague Convention may potentially apply, please contact one of our lawyers immediately.