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Nations come together to combat child abduction

The thought of a child being abducted and taken overseas is a terrifying one for Virginia parents, but this was thereality for at least 8,000 American children between 2008 and 2013 according to the U.S. State Department. The department receives thousands of requests every year for assistance by those involved in international child abduction cases, but only about half of these children ever return to the United States.

The State Department works with the governments of 93 nations who are signatory to the applicable Hague Convention in their efforts to resolve cases of child abduction, but international cooperation may not be of much use in cases where the location of the missing child is not known. However, even when it is known that a child has been taken to a particular country, considerations such as trade agreements or public perception sometimes prevent foreign governments from cooperating fully with U.S. officials. The logistical problems created by cases involving parties scattered across the globe adds another layer of difficulty for those attempting to assist these families.

The reluctance of foreign governments to honor their treaty commitments was among the factors that led to passage of legislation in 2014. The law requires a list to be compiled each year by the State Department of the nations involved in child abduction cases. The law is named after a father and a boy who was taken to Brazil by his mother in 2004 when he was four years old. The boy was returned to the United States in 2009.

Experienced family law attorneys will likely understand the fear that parents feel when the welfare of their children is jeopardized, and they may offer advice designed to help anticipate the actions of others and prevent unfortunate events from occurring. An attorney could also assist a parent during child custody negotiations.

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