Child Abduction; a solution for wrongful removal overseas

The Hague Convention on Child Abduction is receiving attention as the number of divorce among international couples increase. There are many cases where two people with different nationalities get married, later on split up due to marital discord, and one side takes their children away to their own country without the other side’s consent. In these situations, the Hague Convention on Child Abduction may help bring the children back. If a parent suddenly takes the children away to another country, the children have to deal with many difficulties adjusting to his/her new environment. Also, the children may be exposed to a lot of stressful situations because they are most likely unable to contact their other parent.


Deciding who will gain custody over the children is not an easy matter. So even if you go to trial, it will take the court a lot of time to reach a final conclusion. Until a ruling is rendered through the court, the welfare of the children may be at risk. So the Hague Convention on Child Abduction is being suggested as a way to protect children internationally from the harmful effects of their wrongful removal or retention, as well as an effective measure to secure protection for rights of access. Recently, at the Seoul Family Court, there have been several rulings made based on this Convention accepting or dismissing a claim to bring the children back from overseas to Korea.


The Hague Convention of 25 October 1980 on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction (aka The Hague Convention on Child Abduction) is a multilateral treaty, which seeks to protect children from the harmful effects of abduction and retention across international boundaries by providing a procedure to bring about their prompt return. The "Child Abduction Section" provides information about the operation of the Convention and the work of the Hague Conference in monitoring its implementation and promoting international co-operation in the area of child abduction. The Republic of Korea in December of 2012 acceded to the Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Abduction. The Convention entered into force, in Korea, on March 1 st , 2013. As of April 11 th, 2016, 94 countries have acceded to this convention. In order to apply this convention, the country where your children used to live in and the country they are currently living in both have to be a part of the Hague Convention and this convention applies to children under the age of 16. Below are some tips to prevent abduction before it actually happens. If you look for the signs and be aware of them, you might be able to keep your children safe. - A detailed custody order and good legal advice can go a long way in protecting your parental rights. Detailed custody orders include special provisions on the custody decree such as specifying the beginning and end dates of visits; relocation restrictions; supervised visitation for the potential taking parent; requiring the court’s approval to take the child out of the state or country; and asking for the court or a neutral third party to hold passports.


- Do not ignore an abduction threat. Request restricted locations for visitation rights if you can prove potential harm to your child.

- Be on the alert for sudden changes in the other parent’s life. Such as quitting a job, selling a home, or closing a bank account, may be signs that the parent may be planning to leave the country.

- Don’t delay action if you think your child has been taken by the other parent. Make sure that if your child is abducted, the police take a detailed report and contact an attorney right away.

- Be aware that if one parent is a citizen of another country, your child may have dual nationality. Contact the embassy and inquire about passport requirements for minors

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