Child Abduction: The 60 Minutes Case and the Hague Convention
International child abduction has once again been a hot topic in the media thanks to the recent case of a channel 9 reporter crew from the program 60 minutes being charged in Lebanon with offences relating to child abduction.
In that case, the father of the children has taken children back to Lebanon contrary to Orders of the Australian Family Court.
Unfortunately for the mother, Lebanon is not a signatory to the Hague Convention.
The Hague Convention is a treaty that was signed by a number of countries that essentially allows courts in one country to recognise the orders of the court of other another country. If Lebanon were a Hague Convention country, they would be forced to recognise the orders of the Family Court of Australia and the children would be required to be returned to the mother.
For a full list of countries that are signatory to the Hague Convention treaty click here.
Whether you are concerned that your child may be taken to a Hague Convention country or non-signatory country, there are ways that you can minimise the risk of international child abduction. Some tips include:
Engage an accredited Family Law Specialist immediately. Child matters are complex matters generally, let alone when there are jurisdictional issues and a potential clash of cultures and court jurisdictions. Expert legal advice at an early stage can save you heartache later.
Maintain strict passport control. It is very hard to falsify a passport. Keep your children’s passports in a safe and secure location- even if that means somewhere outside of the family home.
Obtain Orders as soon as possible. The earlier that Orders are obtained, even if on an interim basis, the more parties are likely to “play-by-the-rules”.
Have a query regarding this article or your own family law matter? We currently have appointments available with two accredited specialists at our Sydney and Mascot offices. Please contact us on 02 9667 1271 and make an appointment for Lisa Salerno or Daniella Ruggero now to take action.
Family law and Divorce