International Parental Child Abduction
International parental child abduction cases have increased in the last decades with the effect of the increase in international marriages between citizens of different countries. When a dispute arises between married couples with different nationalities, one of the parties might take the child to his or her own country. It is also observed that children are sometimes abducted to third countries by one of their parents. There are various international conventions to protect the interests of children abducted abroad in terms of family law. Many countries, including the Turkey is a party to these international agreements. One of these international conventions is the European Convention on Recognition and Enforcement of Decisions concerning Custody of Children and on Restoration of Custody of Children.
Hague Convention on Child Abduction
Another similar convention is the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. These international legal regulations provide guidance in the legal proceedings to be taken by the parents in case of a parental child abduction. Both of these conventions aim to prevent children from being taken out of the country by abuse of custody rights. In case of a such violation of these international agreements, legal actions can be taken within the framework of these international agreements. In this sense, the central authority in Turkey in implementing the Hague Convention on the task in Turkey is the Ministry of Justice.
There is a special division, DIABGM (General Directorate of Foreign Relations and European Union), under the Ministry that specifically carries out this task. However, the ministry fulfills this task not directly but through the office of the chief prosecutor. In accordance with the Hague Convention on the Protection of Minors, the measures taken by local courts for the protection of children are notified to the central authorities and court decisions shall be notified to the Ministry of Justice’s DIABGM division in Turkey.
Child Abduction Cases
Under the Turkish law, a parent who holds the custody can go abroad with the child. Because the right of child custody gives each parent to right to leave the country with the child. However, in an ongoing marriage, if the custody is shared by the both parents, they should take this decision together. If one of the parents want to go abroad with the child, he or she should get consent from the other parent. However, a written consent is not required to leave the country with the child.
If the child is taken abroad temporarily, and there is no intention to cut the relationship between the child and the other parent, we cannot talk about abduction. For a parent to travel with a child to another country to be covered by the Hague Convention, it must first be without the consent of one parent or the other parent. Secondly, the purpose of taking the child to another country should be to cut off the communication of the child with the other parent. Provided that these two conditions are fulfilled, a parent can take the child to another country whilst the joint custody continues.
Abduction by Parents
If the mother took the child to another country without the father’s consent and without the father’s consent in order not to show the child to the father, this would be an absolute violation of the law. In practice, cases where children are abducted from the father by their own mothers are more common. In this way, if the child of which he is a guardian is abducted without his consent, the custodian father should take legal action. Likewise, if the father takes the child to another country without getting permission from the mother, despite the mother’s ongoing custody relationship, the right of custody would be deemed abused. Because parents cannot use their custody rights to restrict the rights of the other parent.
Legal Actions for Abducted Children
In the event that a child with the right of custody is taken abroad by a parent, the other parent can apply to the central legal authority in person, or through their lawyers. Legal requests for the return of the child must contain many details. Identity information of the requesting parent, child, and the other parent who is with the child is required. In addition, the child’s date of birth, passport information and address information will also be required. Apart from this, the legal basis and principles of the application for the return of the child will be the most important part of the application.
An application for the return of a child can be made by an authorized lawyer. In this case, a power of attorney will also be submitted to the central authority where the application is made. If a child is abducted into a country other than their country of residence, legal proceedings should be initiated in the country of residence before the child is abducted. Additionally, if the country where the child was taken is known, initiating legal action in that country will speed up the process and will definitely be more beneficial for the parent who is seeking legal solution.
The legal processes that the Hague Convention on Child Abductions prescribes are highly specific and technical. It should be emphasized that not every divorce lawyer working in the field of family law is an expert in this field. Therefore, it is necessary to work with a lawyer experienced in such international child abduction cases. The victim whose child is abducted by the other parent must file a lawsuit in person or with a lawyer who is specialized in this field. As the lawyers who have been working on family law and child abduction cases for more than 20 years, we offer comprehensive legal services in this field. You can reach out to us at the email address on our contact page to if you you require legal support for child abduction matters.