On October 25, 1980, a multilateral treaty was introduced into The Statute of the Hague Conference on Private International Law, July 1955. The multilateral treaty, Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, sought and still “seeks to protect children from the harmful effects of abduction and retention across international boundaries by providing a procedure to bring about their prompt return. The “Child Abduction Section” provides information about the operation of the Convention and the work of the Hague Conference in monitoring its implementation and promoting international co-operation in the area of child abduction” (HCCH). Sweden has been a member of the Hague Convention since its inception in July 1955 and is lawfully bound by the 1980 multilateral Child Abduction treaty. This means that if a child is taken out of Sweden without the express permission of both parents, the act is considered abduction.
Doing the right thing, could be wrong
The word “abduction” has connotations of people tied-up, gagged and bound, thrown in the back of a van and driven off at high speeds. But, the reality is that most “abductions” often happen inadvertently, without the abductor even aware their actions were illegal. There are thousands of stories in which parents have found themselves at the wrong end of this legislation. In some instances, parents have been fleeing dangerous or violent relationships or have simply wanted to go back to their native country. One thing is for certain, in each case the reason behind the “abduction” is never simple and often occurs out of desperation.
We’ve reached out to a couple of lawyers who specialise in International Family Law, both here and in Sweden, to ask them for their advice to parents who are facing these difficult decisions. We’ll be publishing these interviews in a separate piece. For now, the overwhelming advice is to talk with your partner about what could happen and how you both would want to deal with these difficult decisions. Plan together, ahead of time, about how to manage your family circumstances if your marriage or partnership breaks down. And, individually, familiarise yourself with the Hague Convention and how your decisions and choices could be effected by it. I know some people who won’t take their children on holiday, out of Sweden, without having a signed letter of permission from their partner.