The Hague Convention

hague conference maria lord 1





Before you go…

Without a doubt, there will be several different reasons as to why a parent decides to cross borders and relocate to another country.  However, when the parents of a child are not in agreement about where their child should live, careful consideration must be given before that child is removed from their State or county of habitual residence if that State or county of habitual residence is a contracting party to The Hague Convention and / or a Member of the HCCH (Hague Convention on Private International law).  Ireland is both a contracting party to the Hague Convention and a Member of the HCCH.

What does this mean to the parent whom, for whatever reason, decides to leave the country, with their child with the intention to relocate abroad and this move is undertaken without acquiescence from the other parent of the child?  It means that the parent left behind could make an application under the Hague Convention for the wrongful removal of the child from their State or county of habitual residence.  The Convention provides the mechanism for the timely return of the child back to their country of habitual residence.  Under the Hague Convention “the return of the child to their State of habitual residence protects the right of the child to have contact with both parents“.

The Convention is underpinned by a principle that “being wrongfully removed from or retained outside of their State of habitual residence has a detrimental impact on a child“.  Obviously there are exceptions to the return of a child and each Authority has discretion not to order the return of the child.  Evidence will need to be demonstrated.  Examples are where such time has elapsed before the Application was sought and the child is now settled in their new environment.

The outline of the Convention is a two-page document which can be accessed online and is a very helpful overview of the Convention and the principle features of the Convention.  If you are a parent who is considering relocation with a child it is critical that you are aware of the Convention and how it might impact on you and your child, should you choose to cross the border with that child and without the agreement and consent of the other parent to that child.

Further reading:

Outline of the Convention
The Articles

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