International parental child abduction occurs when one parent removes his/her child (under the age of 16) from the child’s habitual place of residence in violation of the other parent’s parental rights. This definition also applies to a parent who may have taken the child with the other parent’s consent, but who then retains the child abroad in violation of the other parent’s rights of custody.
Hague Convention Child Abduction
The Hague Abduction Convention focuses on returning the child to his/her place of habitual residence, regardless of the child’s citizenship or immigration status, where the parents should then continue to resolve their child’s custody issues with local courts. The Convention shall cease to apply when the child attains the age of 16 years.
The Office of Children’s Issues within the U.S. Department of State is a leader in U.S. government efforts to prevent international parental child abduction (both from the United States and to the United States), help children and families involved in abduction cases, and promote the objectives of the Hague Abduction Convention.