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Hague Child Abduction Convention

Agreements on international child abduction

The Hague Child Abduction Convention 1980 contains international agreements on the approach to international child abduction. Every country that has signed the Convention is bound by these agreements. The aim of the convention is to prevent international child abductions. When a child is abducted to another country, the starting point of the Convention is to return the child to the country of the habitual residence as quickly as possible.

According to the Convention, an international child abduction occurs when a child has been removed from his or her habitual residence to – or retained in – another country, without the permission of the other parent with custody rights. The convention only applies to children below the age of 16. In the Netherlands, a parent has custody rights when he or she has the parental authority.

All countries that have signed the Convention, have an authority where parents can turn to: a Central Authority. In the Netherlands, this is the Central Authority International Children’s Issues. The Central Authority monitors compliance with the Convention in the Netherlands. In case of an international child abduction, the Dutch Central Authority works together with the foreign Central Authority. The left behind parent can file a request for return when a child abduction occurs.

Agreements on international contact

The Convention also contains agreements about international contact. When a parent lives in another country than the child and there is no contact (agreement), the parent can file a request for contact arrangements at the Central Authority.

Contact us for more information about the Convention.