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The Hague Convention And International Relocation Issues

The Hague convention governs nearly all European countries and is the primary mechanism for preventing the kidnapping and disappearance of children by their parents. This multilateral treaty prevents abduction and retention of children by demanding the immediate return of children whose parents have transported them across international borders without the permission of the second parent. If a parent intends to relocate overseas after divorce, they must follow the guidelines established by the court beforehand. International relocation is possible if both parents agree to the conditions and the move is determined to be in the child’s best interest. 

Petition to relocate 

When a parent desires to relocate more than 50 miles from the current residence for any reason, that parent must submit a petition to relocate to the family court. If both parents are in agreement with the terms of relocation, it is likely that the judge will grant the petition. If the parent petitioning is planning to live overseas and take the child along, the judge is likely to schedule a hearing on the matter. 

Significant change of circumstances 

A petition to relocate overseas is most likely to be granted if the parent desiring to relocate with the child can prove that the move is in the best interest of the child. The determining factor in all relocation cases is the heath and well being of the child, not necessarily the parent. That said, the parent’s circumstances can affect those of the child. For example: 

  • Economic conditions would radically improve the child’s life.
  • Support of an extended family would provide both emotional and financial benefit.
  • The child identifies with the culture, language, religion or ethnic group of the region and would increase the child’s overall comfort. 

These reasons may be compelling enough for a judge to grant the petition. If the second parent objects to the move, the judge might not allow the child to acquire a passport until the matter is resolved. 

Parenting plan for relocation 

The parent who desires to relocate increases the chances of being allowed by the court if they generate a detailed and workable parenting and time-sharing plan in advance. The plan should include the number of days per year the child is physically with each parent, the method of travel and how the travel costs are to be divided.

Relocation after divorce is not a simple matter. Enlist the services of a child custody attorney at Weiner & Weiss, LLC in Boca Raton. We know the law and are ready to fight for your rights as a parent.

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