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You have returned to the Netherlands with your child

If you have returned to the Netherlands, with your child, from abroad it is important to know that there are certain consequences of doing this. You may be regarded as an international child abductor. Below is an explanation of The Hague Convention on Child Abduction. Go to the relevant situation to you to see which options are available to you.

The Hague Convention on Child Abduction

The 1980 Hague Convention on Child Abduction determines when international child abduction has taken place.
In short, the convention applies if the following conditions have been met:

  • The child is younger than 16 years of age
  • The child has been taken to or detained in another country without the permission of the parent with (joint) custody or without the permission of a judge
  • The child has been taken to or detained in another country, contrary to the custody rights of the country in which was the child was ordinarily resident
Ordinary residence means: the place where the child lived before the abduction, where the child went to school and where they had their friends.
Permission means: permission to reside permanently in another country.
Custody rights mean: the right concerning the care of the child and, in particular, the right to decide the child’s place of residence.

 

The Hague Convention on Child Abduction and how it works

The aim of the convention is to prevent child abduction. Your child must be returned to the land from which it was taken, as quickly as possible. The Central Authority is the organisation that enforces compliance with this convention. They are actively working to achieve the convention’s aim.
The convention is interpreted very strictly by the judiciary. The judge is obliged to send your child back, unless you can successfully appeal on the basis of the convention’s grounds for refusal. An appeal on these ground will not be applied rapidly.
In the Netherlands, a distinction is also made between abduction to a country which is covered by the convention and one that is not. The Central Authority deals with all requests equally, on the basis of Implementation Law.

The convention is, therefore, not applicable in the following situations:

Example case-studies:
Irene and Pablo live together and have one child but are not married. Almost immediately after the birth of their daughter, Monica, they moved to Spain. They have been living there for five years. Irene went to the Netherlands to visit her family, with her daughter, and does not want to return to Spain any more. She wants to stay in the Netherlands and decided to set up home with Monica. According to Dutch law, Irene has total custody of Monica. This is irrelevant as Monica’s place of residence is Spain. An investigation, according to Spanish law, will determine whether Irene can move to the Netherlands, with Monica, without Pablo’s permission. Irene must employ the services of a Spanish lawyer.

Breaching permission or custody rights

It is important to know your child’s place of residence can only be determined according to the law of the country in which the child is ordinarily resident. With this in mind, you can contact a lawyer from the country which you have left. The Centre has contacts with international lawyers who have experience with international child abduction cases. To utilise these contacts, please contact us.
Permanent residence in the Netherlands is not a problem for your child if you, alone, can determine the child’s place of residence or you have permission to come and live in the Netherlands permanently. For more information and an explanation about your situation go to: You are planning to return to the Netherlands, with your child, from abroad
According to The Hague Convention on Child Abduction, you have abducted your child if you have returned to the Netherlands without having the authority to determine the child’s place of residence or without having gained permission. The parent who has been left behind can submit a request to the Central Authority for the child to be returned.

Central Authority

The Central Authority deals with requests for return. The Dutch Central Authority does not distinguish between taking the child from a country which is covered by the convention and one which is not, on the basis of Implementation Law. The Central Authority deals with all requests in the same manner.
The Central Authority is a neutral intermediary. After a preliminary examination the Central Authority will inform the left behind parent. The parent needs to contact the International Child Abduction Centre.

Request for return

The deserted parent can submit a request to the Central Authority for the child to be returned. The central authority of the relevant country will initially try to create an agreement between the two parents, without having to involve a judge. The Dutch Central Authority will send you a letter requesting that you, voluntarily, allow your child to return to the country in which they are ordinarily resident. You can comply with this request. In this case, the Central Authority will not start legal proceedings. If you want to cooperate with the voluntary return of your child (with or without you), you must let the Central Authority know as quickly as possible.
If the child is not returned to its country of residence voluntarily, legal proceedings will be initiated in the Netherlands. The Dutch judge will make a decision about whether or not the child must be returned, according to The Hague Convention on Child Abduction. If the child has to be returned, the parents can arrange this between themselves. If this is impossible, the central authority of the relevant country will arrange the child’s return.

Consequences of your return to the Netherlands

If The Hague Convention on Child Abduction does not apply to you, permanent residence in the Netherlands is not a problem.
If The Hague Convention on Child Abduction does apply to you, the actions you have taken may have a number of consequences:

-    The Dutch Central Authority may receive a request from you partner asking for the return of the child. 
-    Legal consequences in the country from which you took your child, upon the return of the child. This varies per country.
-    Practical consequences in the country from which you took your child, upon the return of the child. This differs according to circumstances.

It is important to know which country you left when you returned to the Netherlands with your child. Click on Country information ito find more information about the country in question.

Divorce arrangements

Arrange your divorce in the country where you are currently living. It is not easier to arrange your divorce in the Netherlands.
In the Netherlands you can submit a request for a divorce if you have lived in the Netherlands for 6 months.
A request for return can be submitted if you submit a request for a divorce in the Netherlands and you have brought your child to the Netherlands without permission. The judge must take The Hague Convention on Child Abduction into account and cannot declare a divorce until it has been decided whether or not the child must be returned. At best, the judge will make a temporary decision about the request for a divorce and will adjourn the case.
If you have submitted a request for a divorce in the Netherlands and you had permission to bring your child to the Netherlands then residing in the Netherlands is not a problem. The divorce can be declared by the judge.

  • The child is younger than 16 years of age
  • The child has been taken to or detained in another country without the permission of the parent with (joint) custody or without the permission of a judge
  • The child has been taken to or detained in another country, contrary to the custody rights of the country in which was the child was ordinarily resident
    • You can only determine your child’s place of residence according to the law of the country where you are residing with your child.
    • You have written permission from the other parent to take your child to the Netherlands and to stay there for a limited length of time.
    • You have the permission of a judge in the country from which you are leaving, to take your child with you.
    • The Dutch Central Authority may receive a request from you partner asking for the return of the child.
    • Legal consequences in the country from which you took your child, upon the return of the child. This varies per country.
    • Practical consequences in the country from which you took your child, upon the return of the child. This differs according to circumstances.

 +31 (0)88 - 800 90 00
 info@kinderontvoering.org
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 info@kinderontvoering.org
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