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International Child Abduction and Domestic Violence

Thailand Becomes Treaty Partner with the United States

On January 26, 2016 the United States accepted Thailand's 2002 accession to the Hague Convention, and on April 1st, 2016 the Convention went into force between Thailand and the United States. Hague Convention petitions may now be filed in the United States for children removed from Thailand and vice versa. 

Bloomberg BNA talks to Assistant Dean Sudha Shetty about a Recent California Court of Appeals Decision in a Hague Convention Case

The Court of Appeals decision in Noergaard v. Noergaard, focuses on the trial court's decision not to have an evidentiary hearing on respondent's objections to return. The court found that due process required respondent to be heard on these claims and it reversed and remanded for a full evidentiary hearing. Assistant Dean Sudha Shetty, director of the Hague Domestic Violence Project, weighed in on the importance of this decision in a recent Bloomberg BNA Family Law Reporter article: Court Places Child Returned to Denmark in Limbo

Representing Battered Respondents Under the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction 

A Practice Guide for Attorneys and Domestic Violence Victim Advocates. For the full Practice Guide please submit a request.

The Life of the Law Interviews Assistant Dean Sudha Shetty and Social Welfare Dean Jeffrey Edleson

Listen to The Life of the Law's latest podcast: Abuse, Abduction and International Law, in which TLOTL's Jillian Weinberger looks at the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction and domestic violence. Weinberger, interviewing our own Sudha Shetty and Jeffrey Edleson, as well as a mother who faced a Hague Convention petition for the return of her children after fleeing abuse in a foreign country, and the judge that presided over her case, discusses the history of the Convention and the way it has impacted battered mothers fleeing abuse.      

Japan Becomes 91st Contracting State to the Convention

Japan signed and ratified the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction on January 24, 2014.  The Convention goes into force in Japan on April 1, 2014, making Japan the 91st Contracting State to the Convention.  Because Japan is a member state ratifying the Convention, the Convention will go into force between the United States and Japan on the same day the Convention goes into force in Japan, April 1, 2014.  With the addition of Japan, the U.S. will have 80 treaty partners.  The Convention, however, will only apply to cases between the U.S. and Japan where the wrongful removal occurred after the Convention is in force.      

U.S. Supreme Court Rules Equitable Tolling Not Available in Hague Cases  

On March 5, 2014 the U.S. Supreme Court issued its decision in Lozano v. Montoya Alvarez, a Hague case focusing on the issue of equitable tolling and the well-settled defense.  This is only the third Hague case considered by the U.S. Supreme Court, the first being Abbott v. Abbott regarding rights of custody, and the 2013 case, Chafin v. Chafin, dealing with the issue of mootness.

In Lozano, the court considered whether the one-year period required before a respondent can invoke the well-settled defense was subject to equitable tolling where the taking parent conceals the child’s location from the left behind parent.  The Court held that equitable tolling is not available, therefore as long as a petition for return is filed more than a year after the wrongful removal or retention of a child, the well-settled defense is available to the respondent.  The Court’s decision, however, recognizes that concealment of a child’s location could be a factor to consider when determining if a child is in fact well-settled in the new country.

Providing Assistance to Attorneys Representing Respondent Battered Parents and to Judges Hearing Hague Convention Cases in U.S. Courts

The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction is an international treaty that requires countries to work together to quickly return an abducted child back to his or her home country. Although the treaty was created to protect children, the results are often the opposite when domestic violence is involved. The Hague Domestic Violence Project focuses on providing comprehensive technical assistance to attorneys who are representing battered parents who are respondents to Hague petitions in U.S. courts and to judges who are hearing these cases. Our current funding does not permit us to assist individuals involved in a Hague Convention cases.

Hague Convention Cases are Time and Fact Sensitive

Whether you are a woman seeking safety, an attorney facing your first Hague Convention case, a judge hearing a Hague Convention case for the first time, or an advocate seeking to assist a battered woman and her children, you are likely facing strict deadlines and confusion about what steps you need to take. This site is meant to help guide you through the system.

  • For domestic violence victims, we provide resources to assist you in obtaining legal aid and other forms of assistance.
  • For attorneys, we have compiled databases with cases, legal briefs and other useful documentation to assist you in preparing for court hearings.
  • For judges, we have created bench guides and provide access to our case database to assist you in presiding over Hague Convention disputes.
  • For advocates for battered women, we are compiling expert testimony and other useful resources to guide you in providing aid to victims.

Meet the Members of the Hague Domestic Violence Project

We are a team of individuals from various professional backgrounds who are dedicated to creating a comprehensive resource that will enable mothers, attorneys, judges and advocates for battered women to better prepare themselves for Hague Convention cases in the United States' legal system. To learn more about our dedicated team, visit our page on Our Staff and Volunteers.

We are Always Looking for Ways to Better Help You

We at The Hague Domestic Violence Project are constantly updating this Web site to provide you with the information you need to handle your situation effectively and efficiently. If you cannot find what you are looking for on this site, please let us know. We are continuously looking for more information and ways to improve this site.