International child abduction, Part 2: thorny family law problem

On behalf of Stange Law Firm, PC posted in Child Custody on Wednesday, April 8, 2015.

We broached the subject of global parental child abduction in our immediately preceding blog post, noting therein that the subject matter can become exceedingly complex in a hurry in a given case (please see our April 5 entry).

One such case that was recently reported notes a mother’s departure last year from Utah to China — her native country — with her young son, who is a U.S. citizen. The boy’s father, an American, expected the woman and his son to return after what he believed was a vacation.

They didn’t, and he is now embroiled in a legal battle to get his son back that is dauntingly complex.

The couple was planning on a divorce prior to the woman’s departure. Before she left for China with the child, she signed a statement affirming his U.S. citizenship and agreeing that he would be raised in Utah.

And then she simply never returned and is now strenuously resisting the father’s efforts to regain custody of his son.

One media account of the situation cites a central cause for what it describes as the man’s “frustrating, labyrinthine, upsetting fight,” namely, that China — unlike the United States — is not a signatory to the Hague Abduction Convention. That treaty provides for a process to settle international child custody disputes.

Another problem is that China does not recognize child custody orders issued by U.S. authorities.

Further still, the father is balking at filing a criminal charge against the mother for international abduction, fearing that she and the child will simply disappear. And he lacks confidence that Chinese authorities would enforce such an order, anyway, given that there is no extradition treaty between that country and the United States.

Notwithstanding the challenges he is facing, the father vows to press on.

“I will never give up this fight,” he says.

Source: Yahoo! Parenting, “One dad’s all-out fight for son after mom abducts him to China,” Beth Greenfield, April 1, 2015

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