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Good news re: international custody abduction preventative measures

The International Child Abduction Prevention and Return Act of 2014 (22 U.S.C. § 9101 et seq.), enacted in August, 2014, provides a new tool to prevent abductions from the United States by requiring Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to establish a program to prevent a child from departing the United States. “[I]f a parent or legal guardian of such child presents a court order from a court of competent jurisdiction prohibiting the removal of such child from the United States to a CBP Officer in sufficient time to prevent such departure for the duration of such court order”, CBP is to prevent the departure of the child from the United States. Until now, even when there has been knowledge that a parent is in the process of abducting or planning to abduct a child from the US, the only remedy has been to initiate legal proceedings, which is often too late, resulting in the implication of the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction in the country where the child has been removed to if that country has adopted the Hague Convention; or if the country where the child is now located, a web of legal entanglements based on that country’s laws which often are not favorable to the left behind parent.

Click here for the text of the Act. Scroll to Title III, § 433.

For more information about the new ‘Operation Prevent Depart’ program, or assistance preventing an abduction, contact the Office of Children’s Issues Prevention Branch: [email protected] and 1-888-407-4747.

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