Hot! US Court Rules One Year Expiration on Hague Child Abduction

Thailand Child Abduction

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The Washington Associated Press recently reported that The US Supreme Court, in a bid to deter international child abduction, has made it more difficult for a parent in a custody battle to demand the immediate return of a child under an international treaty.

The Hague Convention on child abduction states that a child must automatically be returned to its home country within the first year of residing in a foreign country. The Supreme Court justices ruled unanimously on 5 March 2014, that the first year begins the moment the child is taken outside its home country, even if the parent left behind does not know where they are. The Hague Convention, as an international convention between member states, affirms that the signatories of the Convention agree to abide by its terms; however, the terms of the Convention still normally need to be enacted in each member state’s domestic law. Further, as this decision shows a member state may interpret or modify its duties pursuant to the Convention by the internal law of a member state.

In this instance, the Supreme Court’s ruling means that after the one year period, judges have more discretion and must consider whether the child has settled in its new home. The issue is not the ultimate custody of the child, but in which nation’s courts the case will be heard.

The US Supreme Court’s ruling will not have a direct effect on most child custody cases in Thailand, according to Jiraporn Thongpong a Thailand Family Attorney at Chaninat and Leeds. However, Ms Thongpong notes that the case decision may have an effect on cases in Thailand where a case is brought in Thai Court to return an abducted child to Thailand from the USA pursuant to the Hague Convention.

Although Thailand, along with the USA, is a signatory to the Hague Convention on Child Abduction. Thailand has only recently enacted internal domestic law to enforce the terms of the Convention pursuant to the Thailand Child Abduction Act.

Read the full article here.

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