International parental child abduction

The recent reporting on the Lebanon child abduction case on Australian Story and elsewhere in the media has highlighted the difficulties faced by Australian parents whose children have been abducted overseas. Statistically, the problem is likely to become more prevalent with the increasing ties of Australian citizens or residents to other countries.

International parental child abduction occurs in Australia when a child is removed from Australia by a parent without the permission of the other parent. As a result of the child being removed to another country, they may no longer have any contact with the other parent and one half of their extended family. This often leads to significant psychological distress for the child and the parent and family they leave behind, and symptoms of parental alienation. The child’s removal can lead to loss of their former identity, language, culture and religion.

Australia and many other countries are parties to the Convention on Jurisdiction, Applicable Law, Recognition, Enforcement and Co-Operation in Respect of Parental Responsibility and Measures for the Protection of Children which came into force on 1 August 2003 (known as the Hague Convention).
The Hague Convention is a multilateral treaty which establishes a framework for responding to cases involving international child abduction and provides a lawful procedure for seeking the return of abducted children to their home country.

The Hague Convention applies to abductions where the country from which the child is taken and the country to which the child is removed, have ratified or acceded to the Hague Convention. The situation becomes more difficult for the parent left behind when an Australian child is taken to a country which is not a party to the Hague Convention.

In that event, or where there is no a bilateral agreement on the issue of international parental child abduction between the two countries, the abduction is then governed by the principles of private international law. Unless there is an existing order of the Family Court of Australia restricting the travel of the child, the parent left behind is often forced to consider expensive overseas court proceedings or other extreme options.
There are various protective measures you can take if you believe that your child is at risk of being abducted from Australia, including placing them on the Australian Federal Police Family Law Watch List, retaining and safe guarding their passport, lodging a Child Alert request in relation to the issue of any new passports, and seeking further legal advice. It is important to note that the placement of your child on a Child Alert does not prevent them from leaving Australia if they already hold an Australian passport or a travel document issued by another country.
Hayes Gabriel is able to advise parents in relation to all issues concerning international parental child abduction matters, including preventative steps which can be undertaken. For further information on this issue, please contact Hayes Gabriel Lawyers.

Hayes Gabriel Lawyers are experts in Family Law, we deal with each matter separately to ensure that they each receive the attention they require.

To speak with a Family Law expert call Hayes Gabriel Lawyers on 07 5474 0830 or contact us online and we will call you.