The Hague Convention on Child Abduction and Unilateral Relocations by Custodial Parents: A Perspective from the United States and Europe – Abbott, Neulinger, Zarraga
18 Pages Posted: 2 Feb 2012 Last revised: 11 Feb 2012
Date Written: 2011
The 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of Child Abduction has been an effective mechanism in deterring and remedying wrongful removals and retentions of children in cross-border parental disputes. Recently, unilateral relocations by custodial parents have become an important focus for the Convention. The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Abbott v. Abbott helped to secure a meaningful role for the Convention in such cases, and a recent decision by the European Court of Justice interpreting the Brussels IIbis Regulation confirmed the primacy of a return order by the state of habitual residence pursuant to the Abduction Convention. However, several decisions by the European Court of Human Rights have undermined the efficacy of the Convention to reverse unilateral relocations by custodial parents and have introduced questionable interpretations of the Convention itself. This article surveys those developments and emphasizes that there is an important private international law principle in the Convention that a merits decision on custody best belongs to courts in the State of the original habitual residence.
Keywords: child abduction, custodial rights, Hague Convention, cross-border parental disputes, private international law
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