The State Department and international abduction cases

Kentucky parents may continue having disputes regarding their child well after the divorce decree is signed and the child custody and visitation order is in place. Unfortunately, sometimes one parent will abduct the person's child in order to prevent the other parent from exercising the parent's child custody or visitation rights. This situation is especially serious when a parent absconds to an entirely different country with the child.

In international parental child abduction cases, the parent left behind may turn to the State Department for help. The State Department can help in a variety of ways. It can give the parent information about the resources the person may have that could help return the child to the U.S., including information about attorneys in the country the child was abducted to that might be able to help.

If the country where the child was taken to is a member of the Hague Abduction Convention, the State Department can accept the parent's Hague application and keep tabs on the case's development. In addition, the State Department can facilitate communications with other agencies and organizations that may be helping the parent left behind.

That being said, there are also some things the State Department cannot do when it comes to international abduction cases. It cannot step in and simply take custody of the child, nor can it help a parent break either U.S. law or the laws of another country. It also cannot provide a parent with legal advice or represent the parent in court proceedings.For these reasons, parents of a child who was abducted by the other parent to another country may want to retain an attorney who can provide legal advice and representation, so that the child can be safely returned.