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New focus on parental kidnapping overseas

On Behalf of | Dec 16, 2013 | Child Custody |

Parents in Texas and across the nation may be getting help with foreign custody battles if a new bill passes. Between 2008 and 2013, the federal government reported that 7,000 American children were abducted by one of their parents and taken overseas. The parents that remained in the U.S. battled for custody or visitation rights in countries where U.S. laws don’t apply and an international treaty has been ignored. Most children never come back. Parents are often frustrated from trying to work with other nations and the U.S. State Department. Some in Congress want more attention placed on the problem of international child custody battles.

One man told his story to the House and explained that putting the work ‘parental” before the word ‘kidnapping” doesn’t make it legal. The law enforcement officer and military veteran explained that his wife took his two children to Japan using fake passports seven years ago. He has told others of his private struggle as he hopes that Congress is listening.

In June, Japan cooperated when they signed the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. The agreement sets the ground rules for custody battles but unfortunately doesn’t apply to cases that pre-date it. Chris Smith, a House Republican, wants more attention put on this issue to open the door for resolution with foreign leaders. He is backing a bill that would ask the president to become involved in abduction cases through meetings and even sanctions. However, the State Department’s adviser for children’s issues places more emphasis on the Hague Convention instead of a new bill to resolve foreign custody issues.

Child abduction, especially to another country, can devastate a parent. A family lawyer might be able to help parents regain custody of their children and their advice may keep the children from being collateral damage in a divorce.

Source:, “Bill may help ‘left-behind parents’ in global child custody fights – See more at:”, Herb Jackson, December 11, 2013