A nightmare scenario for nearly any parent is one involving the abduction of their child. The “stranger danger” narrative has permeated American culture for decades, but it should be noted that children are not always abducted by a stranger. In fact, they may be abducted by one of their parents in response to an unfavorable child custody order.
The United States is one of the signatories to a 1980 treaty called the Hague Abduction Convention. Countries that signed the treaty have agreed to aid one another in resolving cases of international child abduction. Parents who flee with their child or children to a non-signatory country are often able to evade capture. The parent left behind in the United States may not see their children for years, if they ever see them again.
Thankfully, some of these stories have a happy ending, including the story of a father and son who were recently reunited in Texas. The boy is now 10 years old and had not seen his father since he was two.
The man’s ex-wife is from India. The two got a divorce in 2006 and were awarded joint custody. Months later, the ex-wife took their 2-year-old son and fled the United States. Over the next several years, she moved to seven different countries, eventually ending up in her native India (which is not a signatory to the Hague Abduction Convention).
For unknown reasons, she finally agreed to return to the U.S. with their son, which she did earlier this month. She was arrested at the airport as the father and son celebrated a long-overdue reunion.
In cases of international child abduction, the fleeing parent is often from a country other than the United States. This is not always the case, however. If you are going through a child custody dispute and worry that your child’s other parent may be a flight risk, it is important to share these concerns with your attorney and perhaps a family law judge.
Source: Dallas News, “Mother arrested at D/FW Airport after returning to U.S. with son,” Eva-Marie Ayala and Julieta Chiquillo, July 10, 2014