IAML Fellow, Lawrence Katz of Florida, USA speaks at the IAML Hague Symposium in Buenos Aires, Argentina in September 2013 on the subject of International Relocations.
Helping reunite parents and children
Few things can be more devastating than learning that your child has been abducted by a parent. Typically, you will not know what to do or who to turn to for help and unfortunately law enforcement agencies are so unfamiliar with state and federal laws that they do not consider it a crime. The Law Offices of Lawrence S. Katz, P.A. has helped parents recover children from other states and countries around the world. We understand that this is a difficult time for you and your family, and we provide compassionate, attentive legal services to help minimize your anxiety. If your child has been taken across state lines or out of the country, we relentlessly pursue your child’s return.
Interstate child abduction
There are laws in place to prevent interstate abduction by parents and to prevent the parent from delaying the return of the child. The Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA) limits the jurisdiction of custody matters to one state and provides for expedited enforcement and pick-up orders of the child to return to the home state. It also establishes uniform criteria for determining jurisdiction. The UCCJEA requires the state to decline jurisdiction where the abducting parent has taken the child except for enforcement purposes.
The Parental Kidnapping Prevention Act (PKPA) provides the federal enforcement mechanism to ensure that states honor the custody and interstate relocation decisions of other states. Although rarely used in litigation, the PKPA requires courts to enforce, rather than to modify, the custody and visitation orders of other states. Once a state exercises jurisdiction, no other state may exercise concurrent jurisdiction.
International child abduction
Globalization and cross-cultural or international marriages and relationships that result in the birth of a child are on the rise. When these marriages end in divorce or the relationship breaks-up, international relocation and abduction by a parent suddenly becomes a real possibility. Many international child abductions are governed by The Hague Abduction Convention, which was adopted to protect children internationally from the harmful effects of their wrongful removal or retention, to establish procedures to ensure their prompt return to their habitual residence and to secure protection of parental rights to access the child.
The Hague Abduction Convention only governs abductions in which the child at issue is habitually a resident of a participating country and is removed to another participating country. In petitioning to invoke the protection of the Hague Abduction Convention, a petitioner must demonstrate that the other parent wrongfully removed or retained the child from their habitual residence, had rights of custody and was exercising those rights prior to the abduction, and the child is under 16 years of age. Although the Hague Abduction Convention may not apply, the International Parental Kidnapping Crime Act makes it a federal criminal offense for a parent to wrongfully remove or attempt to remove or retain a child outside the United States with the intent to obstruct custodial rights.
The Law Offices of Lawrence S. Katz, P.A. has secured the return of children from or to a number of countries worldwide, including:
Contact a Miami international family law attorney to schedule an appointment
We have a thorough understanding of the complicated legal issues and government entities commonly involved in interstate and international parental kidnapping. We are committed to doing everything we can to bring your child home as soon as possible. If your child has been abducted, or if you believe abduction is imminent, call The Law Offices of Lawrence S. Katz, P.A. at 305-670-8656 or contact us online. Our office is located near the Dadeland South Metrorail. Se habla español.