When a child is kidnapped by a non-custodial parent and taken out of the country, the ramifications can be complicated for all parties, not least for the child. While the nation has passed laws to help protect the child's best interests, they are not always effective. The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction was enacted in 1980 and has since been agreed to by more than 90 countries, including Canada. The premise of the treaty is that a child should have access to both parents.
Some countries, such as Japan, have not ratified the agreement. And even in the countries that have signed the Hague treaty, the reunification process can be a challenge. One British Columbia father found out just how difficult the process was when his son was taken to Mexico in a family law dispute five years ago. The child's mother did eventually return to Canada with the boy, only to take off again. The back and forth movement of the child has encompassed more than 12 moves, several Mexican locations and two provinces. In addition, a number of police agencies and several courts have been involved in the case.
The father has cooperated with law enforcement and done everything that government agencies have recommended since the initial abduction in January 2009. His main focus is to return his son home to Canada, but the fight has almost bankrupted him. Despite a joint custody agreement validated in Mexico, the man has not seen his son in about year and does not know where he is.
According to Britain and United States statistics, international abductions are on the rise due to increasingly transient citizens. While these cases can be some of the most challenging for parents, a family lawyer might be able to help a parent locate and regain custody of his or her child.
Source: The Vancouver Sun, "Child Abduction: Into the morass", Daphne Bramham, January 20, 2014