International marriages are becoming more common in Kansas and around the country, which means that there is also a growing number of child custody disputes involving parents who live in different countries. American parents may feel helpless if their children are taken out of the United States, but state laws and international treaties do provide them with some remedies. The most important of these is the Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, which is more commonly referred to as the Hague Convention.
The Hague Convention protects children who are abducted and taken to a foreign country, but its provisions only apply when children who are 16 years of age or younger are taken to one of the nations where the convention is enforceable. All European and North American countries and many nations in South America and Asia have signed the Hague Convention. The goal of the convention is to return child custody arrangements to the way they were before an abduction.
Domestic laws also provide protection against international child abductions. Kansas is one of many states that have adopted the Uniform Child Abduction Prevention Act. This law allows judges to apply protective measures such as travel and passport restrictions when an international child abduction attempt is considered likely. Judges may impose protective measures when foreign parents threaten to abduct their children or have made unsuccessful abduction attempts in the past.
Parents who are concerned about a possible international abduction may be wise to consult with a family law attorney who has experience in this area. Attorneys may be able to represent the interests of parents in foreign legal proceedings and work to resolve international child custody disputes quickly. Attorneys may also be able to help parents locate foreign spouses and their children. Once located, attorneys may seek to negotiate the safe and voluntary return of children in accordance with existing child custody arrangements.