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The Hague Convention

The Hague Convention

Information about the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of child abduction from the Australian government including a link to further information.

The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction

The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction entered into force for Australia on 1 January 1987. The Convention is an international treaty under which arrangements are made for the return of children who have been wrongfully removed from, or retained outside their country of habitual residence. The Convention sets up a Central Authority in each country to deal with applications for the return of children taken to or from each country. The Australian Government Attorney-General's Department is the Central Authority for Australia.

Purpose of the Hague Convention

The purpose of the Convention is to discourage international parental child abduction and to ensure that children who are abducted or wrongfully retained are returned promptly to their country of habitual residence so that disagreements about residence and contact can be resolved by the courts or relevant authorities of that country. The usual issues relevant to a residence or contact dispute between parents are not relevant in Convention applications and court hearings. The Convention is concerned with forum not custody or residence.

The Convention allows you to seek the return of a child to Australia if the child has been taken from Australia to another Convention country without your agreement. The Convention also applies if the child was taken temporarily to a Convention country with your consent, for example, to visit relatives or for a contact visit, but has been retained in that country without your agreement (wrongfully retained). The Convention also allows parents to seek assistance in obtaining contact with their children who live with another parent in a Convention country overseas.

If your child is returned to Australia from another country under the Convention, any dispute as to issues of parental responsibility must be resolved by the courts in Australia. The court will have to consider what is in the best interests of the child, and the abducting parent may be successful in obtaining an order permitting the abducting parent to relocate with the child from Australia to live permanently in another country.

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