Congress considering international parental child abduction bill

On Behalf of | Dec 12, 2013 | Child Custody

The issue of international parental child abduction is a very complicated and emotional one. International parental child abduction is when one parent of a child, without authorization of the other parent, moves out of the country with the child.

Such abductions are more common than one might think. According to the U.S. State Department, over the time period going from 2008 to 2012, around 7,000 children were taken from the United States through parental child abductions.

The impacts these abductions can have on the parent who has had their child taken from them can be substantial. These parents often find themselves facing a rather substantial legal quagmire when it comes to trying to get their children back. This is because many countries don’t recognize U.S. court orders regarding custody and visitation.

Some have argued that the federal government hasn’t done enough to put pressure on countries which are resistant towards recognizing U.S. custody and visitation orders and to help parents that have been the victims of international child abductions to get their children back.

A bill has come before Congress that would put certain new requirements on the federal government when it comes to international parental child abductions and countries which are resistant towards recognizing the custody and visitation rights of U.S. parents. Included among the provisions of the bill are terms that would:

  • Require the State Department to provide Congress with more detailed statistics regarding international parental child abductions.
  • Require the State Department to be more aggressive when it comes to pursuing custody-related agreements with countries that don’t recognize or abide by the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction.
  • Set certain rules regarding what actions the president is to take when countries are repeatedly resistant towards cooperating in custody matters.

One wonders if this bill will ultimately be passed.

What do you think of this bill? Do you think this bill, if passed, would ultimately help parents who have been the victims of international parental child abduction? Do you think it would substantially change how the federal government acts in relation to international child custody matters? Do you think that Congress should pass it?

Source:, “Bill may help ‘left-behind parents’ in global child custody fights,” Herb Jackson, Dec. 11, 2013