If your former Louisiana spouse hails from another country and takes your children there to visit his or her family and friends, naturally you expect him or her to bring the children back at the end of the scheduled visit. But what if (s)he does not?
Unfortunately, international parental abduction has become a major issue for many divorced parents. If you are one of them, you may be able to get help under the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. In 1980, this international treaty was signed by 98 nations, including the United States. All member nations agreed not only to honor and respect each other’s custody laws, but also to help return parentally abducted children to their home country.
Applying for help
The Convention’s Central Authority in the United States serves as the organization to which you must apply for assistance in getting your children back. Your attorney can help you prepare your application, which should include all of the following:
- Your name, your ex-spouse’s name, and full identification information pertaining to both of you
- Full identification information for each abducted child, including his or her name, birth date, description, etc.
- Full information as to your children’s present location
- Full information as to the people who may currently have your children
- The grounds under which you are applying for Convention help to get your children back
Providing additional documentation
The more information you give the Central Authority, the quicker it can process your application and get to work on your behalf. Therefore, you would do well to include certified or verified copies of the following with your application:
- Your divorce decree
- Your custody order and parenting plan
- Any additional legal documents that prove you are your children’s parent, such as their respective birth certificates, and that you have sole or joint custody of them
Once the Central Authority verifies all your information, it will investigate your case and contact the country where your children currently are as a result of the “visit” your ex-spouse took them on. Then both countries will do everything in their power to see to it that your children are returned to you as quickly as possible.