If your child’s parent takes them to another country, an international agreement called the Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction (often called the Hague Convention) may apply. Countries that have signed on to the Hague Convention have agreed to share information about abducted children, help bring about solutions between parties, and return children to their home when appropriate. 

The Hague Convention will only apply if the receiving country (the country to which the other parent has moved with your child) has signed onto the agreement. A list of countries that have signed on can be found here: http://www.hcch.net/index_en.php?act=conventions.status&cid=24. The Convention will apply if your child is “wrongfully removed or retained” by a parent, which means the parent has disobeyed a custody order or law made by the place where the child usually lives. 

If your child has been abducted you should first contact your local police and request they contact the National Missing Children Operations of the RCMP. You may also want to contact the media or hire a private search agency. Next, you should contact the central authority under the Hague Convention. In Alberta this is the Social Enhancement Legal Team section of Alberta Justice. The central authority will provide you with an application form and help you through the next steps. You may also apply to Legal Aid Albertaor hire your own lawyer to help. The Federal Government has prepared a helpful pamphlet on the subject: International Child Abduction: A Guidebook for Left-Behind Parents.

 

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