Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Preventing International Child Abduction


Jeremy D. Morley
The Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), in coordination with the U.S. Department of State and other federal agencies, has had for some time a program – which our office has frequently used - to prevent the departure of a child from the United States when presented with a valid, enforceable court order which prohibits the child’s removal from the United States. 
Now the State Department has made official mention of the existence of the program. https://www.cbp.gov/travel/international-child-abduction-prevention-and-return-act

Friday, June 15, 2018

State Department's Annual Report on International Child Abduction: United Arab Emirates


The U.S. State Department has recently released their annual report on International Child Abduction. Below is our last post in a series here focusing on the twelve countries classified as “demonstrating patterns of noncompliance.”  Today’s country is the United Arab Emirates.
Country Summary: The United Arab Emirates does not adhere to any protocols with respect to international parental child abduction. In 2017, the United Arab Emirates demonstrated a pattern of noncompliance. Specifically, the competent authorities in the United Arab Emirates persistently failed to work with the Department of State to resolve abduction cases. As a result of this failure, 50 percent of requests for the return of abducted children remained unresolved for more than 12 months. On average, these cases were unresolved for two years.

Central Authority: In 2017, the competent authorities in the United Arab Emirates demonstrated a pattern of noncompliance by regularly declining to work with the Department of State toward the resolution of pending abduction cases. Moreover, the competent authorities have failed to resolve cases.
Location: The Department of State did not request assistance with location from the Emirati authorities.

Judicial Authorities: The lack of clear legal procedures for addressing international parental child abduction cases under Emirati law makes it difficult for the United Arab Emirates to resolve these cases.
Enforcement: The United States is not aware of any abduction cases in which a judicial order relating to international parental child abduction needed to be enforced by the Emirati authorities.
Department Recommendations: The Department will continue to encourage the United Arab Emirates to accede to the Convention and expand public diplomacy activities related to the Convention.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Common Law Marriage in Israel


Jeremy D. Morley

Common law marriages are alive and well in Israel. 
They are increasingly popular as a means of circumventing the religious monopoly on civil marriage in that country. 
The religious control over civil marriage in Israel, and the accompanying restrictions imposed by the ultra-orthodox rabbinate and other religious authorities, is a key factor behind the growth of common law marriage.
To qualify as a spouse in a common law marriage under Israeli law, it is simply necessary to establish the existence of a common household with cohabitation as a family unit between two adults of any religion, nationality or gender,
Some couples who establish a common law marriage in Israel enter into a written agreement defining the terms of their relationship. Other couples have a wedding ceremony but without a religious officiant, knowing that, since religious marriage is the exclusive way to be formally married in Israel, their relationship will be not be accepted as a legal marriage by the State of Israel.  Other couples simply live together as a common household unit. 
Common law couples have mutual rights and obligations to each other that are very similar to those of a married couple. They include the right to alimony, to pension funds of a deceased partner and to a division of assets accumulated during the relationship. The children of a common law couple have the same legal rights as the children of married parents. They can carry their mother’s or father’s family name, or both names. Their parents have the same status as married parents with regard to custody issues and support, even when the issues are brought to the rabbinical court. 
The parties to a common law marriage may be of the same or of different sexes. They may choose a common name, simply by submitting a Name Change form to the Interior Ministry.
Upon the death of a common law spouse, the surviving spouse usually continues to receive full compensation and pensions. It has even been held that a married man who lived with another woman in a shared household was deemed to have two widows upon his death.
Many Israeli common law couples obtain domestic union cards, issued by advocacy groups upon the submission of an affidavit describing the relationship, in order to confirm their common law status. However, common law relationships are not registered by the Interior Ministry and the formal personal status of the partners remains ‘single.’
One wonders whether the growth of de facto marriages in Israel, along with the long-standing practice of couples flying to Cyprus or other foreign destinations for an actual civil marriage, will ultimately dilute the religious monopoly over civil marriage in Israel, or strengthen the division between extreme religious orthodoxy and secular society in that country.  

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

State Department's Annual Report on International Child Abduction: Peru


The U.S. State Department has recently released their annual report on International Child Abduction. Below is our eleventh post in a series here focusing on the twelve countries classified as “demonstrating patterns of noncompliance.”  Today’s country is Peru.
Country Summary: The Hague Abduction Convention has been in force between the United States and Peru since 2007. In 2017, Peru demonstrated a pattern of noncompliance. Specifically, Peru’s judicial branch regularly fails to implement and comply with the provisions of the Hague Abduction Convention. As a result of this failure, 36 percent of requests for the return of abducted children under the Convention remained unresolved for more than 12 months. On average these cases were unresolved for one year and 11 months. 
Initial Inquiries: In 2017, the Department received four initial inquiries from parents regarding possible abductions to Peru where no completed applications were submitted to the Department.

Significant Developments: In the last year the Peruvian Central Authority (PCA) has expressed interest in additional support and training for the judges in Peru. The Office of Children's Issues is working with the PCA to find ways to reduce judicial delays in Hague Convention Cases. In October 2017, members of the Central Authority, and judiciary visited the United States on a two-week child abduction-focused International Visitor Leadership Program. 
Central Authority: The United States and the Peruvian Central Authorities have a strong and productive relationship that facilitates the resolution of abduction cases under the Convention. The PCA gives the United States regular updates on all open cases, and conducts a bi-monthly conference call with the U.S. Central Authority. The PCA is quick to respond to questions or concerns on cases.
Voluntary Resolution: The Convention states that central authorities "shall take all appropriate measures to secure the voluntary return of the child or to bring about an amicable resolution of the issues." In 2017, two abduction cases were resolved through voluntary means. 

Location: The competent authorities regularly took appropriate steps to locate children after a Convention application was filed. The average time to locate a child was 30 days. 
Judicial Authorities: The Peruvian judicial authorities demonstrated a pattern of noncompliance with the Convention due to serious delays in deciding Convention cases. As a result of these delays, cases may be pending with the judiciary for over one year. In addition, there was a strike by administrative workers in the judicial system during the year, further slowing the scheduling of hearings. 
Enforcement: The United States is not aware of any abduction cases in which a judicial decision ordered under the Convention needed to be enforced by the Peruvian authorities.
Department Recommendations: The Department will continue intense engagement with the Peruvian authorities to address issues of concern and expand public diplomacy activities related to the resolution of cases. 
Access: In 2017, the U.S. Central Authority had one open access case under the Convention in Peru. By December 31, 2017, this case (100 percent) had been resolved.

Monday, June 11, 2018

Court Ruling on Expert Testimony of Jeremy Morley Concerning Japan


From the transcript of Reasons for Judgment in matter in the Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta, Calgary, Alberta, Canada, dated June 1, 2018:
THE COURT: “… I heard expert evidence on Japan and its adherence to and enforcement of foreign parenting orders from Mr. Jeremy Morley, a New York attorney with an international family law practice and a focus on Japan and Japanese child custody law. Mr. Morley has testified in other Canadian court cases and in 2016 was accepted as an expert in British Columbia proceedings before Justice Arnold-Bailey. Relying on Mr. Morley’s evidence, Justice Arnold-Bailey denied mom’s request to take the children to Japan. 
I accept Mr. Morley’s evidence regarding dad’s likelihood of access to [the child] if mom is permitted to move with [the child] to Japan and dad’s likelihood of success in getting [the child] back from Japan under the Hague Convention if mom takes [the child] to visit Japan and doesn’t return. Mr. Morley opined that if mom relocates to Japan, dad will not have meaningful access to [the child] unless his mom allows him to do so and dad will have no more than a slight chance of success in getting [the child] back from Japan should it be necessary under the Hague Convention. 
Mr. Morley testified that …
I did not find mom’s [Japanese] expert … testimony to dislodge the concerns raised by Mr. Morley.”

Thursday, June 07, 2018

Testimonials


Testimonials: We receive a constant stream of unsolicited testimonials about our services in international family law, especially concerning international child abduction, international prenuptial agreements, international divorce matters and international child custody cases.  Here’s the newest one, received today:
“I needed a complicated pre-nuptial agreement that covered multiple countries. Jeremy did a great job coordinating an international team of lawyers to make it happen. He was also a pleasure to work with.”
Please see our Testimonials page at our full site here:  

Wednesday, June 06, 2018

State Department's Annual Report on International Child Abduction: Morocco


The U.S. State Department has recently released their annual report on International Child Abduction. Below is our tenth post in a series here focusing on the twelve countries classified as “demonstrating patterns of noncompliance.”  Today’s country is Morocco.
Country Summary: The Hague Abduction Convention has been in force between the United States and Morocco since 2012. In 2017, Morocco demonstrated a pattern of noncompliance as a result of failure by the competent authorities to take appropriate steps to locate a child for more than one year after a Convention application was filed. 
Initial Inquiries: In 2017, the Department received two initial inquiries from parents regarding possible abductions to Morocco where no completed applications were submitted to the Department.

Central Authority: The Moroccan Central Authority demonstrated a pattern of noncompliance with the Convention due to delays in the processing of cases and a lack of effective communication with the U.S. Central Authority regarding their resolution. In spite of repeated requests from the U.S. Central Authority, the Moroccan Central Authority failed to maintain timely and efficient communication. In addition, in one case, the Moroccan Central Authority has failed to confirm the location of a child for more than a year, thereby preventing the case from being brought to competent judicial authorities in a timely manner.
Voluntary Resolution: The Convention states that central authorities “shall take all appropriate measures to secure the voluntary return of the child or to bring about an amicable resolution of the issues.” In 2017, one abduction case was resolved through voluntary means. 

Location: The Department of State requested location assistance but the Moroccan authorities have not yet confirmed location. The Central Authority has been unable to confirm the location of one child for over one year. 
Judicial Authorities: The United States is not aware of any abduction cases brought before the Moroccan judiciary in 2017. 
Enforcement: The United States is not aware of any abduction cases in which a judicial order relating to international parental child abduction needed to be enforced by Moroccan authorities. 
Department Recommendations: The Department will continue intense engagement with the Moroccan authorities to address issues of concern, including pre-Convention cases, and expand public diplomacy activities related to the resolution of cases.
Access: In 2017, the U.S. Central Authority had one open access case under the Convention in Morocco. This case has been filed with the Moroccan Central Authority. No new cases were filed in 2017. While no cases had been resolved by December 31, 2017, this case was closed for other reasons. 
Pre-Convention Cases: At the end of 2017, one pre-Convention abduction case remained open in Morocco. 

Tuesday, June 05, 2018

State Department's Annual Report on International Child Abduction: Jordan


The U.S. State Department has recently released their annual report on International Child Abduction. Below is our ninth post in a series here focusing on the twelve countries classified as “demonstrating patterns of noncompliance.”  Today’s country is Jordan.
Country Summary: Jordan does not adhere to any protocols with respect to international parental child abduction. In 2006, the United States and Jordan signed a Memorandum of Understanding to encourage voluntary resolution of abduction cases and facilitate consular access to abducted children. In 2017, Jordan demonstrated a pattern of noncompliance. Specifically, the competent authorities in Jordan persistently failed to work with the Department of State to resolve abduction cases. As a result of this failure, 50 percent of requests for the return of abducted children remained unresolved for more than 12 months. On average these cases were unresolved for one year and 11 months. Jordan has been cited as noncompliant since 2014. 

Initial Inquiries: In 2017, the Department received three initial inquiries from parents regarding possible abductions to Jordan where no additional assistance was requested.
Central Authority: In 2017, the competent authorities in Jordan demonstrated a pattern of noncompliance by regularly declining to work with the Department of State toward the resolution of pending abduction cases. Moreover, the competent authorities have failed to resolve cases. Repeated requests by the Department for information on resources available to parents and the judicial processes to resolve abduction cases have gone unanswered over a period of two years.

Voluntary Resolution: In 2017, three abduction cases were resolved through voluntary means. 
Location: The Department of State did not request assistance with location from the Jordanian authorities. 
Judicial Authorities: The lack of clear legal procedures for addressing international parental child abduction cases under Jordanian law makes it difficult for Jordan to resolve these cases. 
Enforcement: The United States is not aware of any abduction cases in which a judicial order relating to international parental child abduction needed to be enforced by the Jordanian authorities. 
Department Recommendations: The Department will continue to encourage Jordan to accede to the Convention and expand public diplomacy activities related to the Convention.

Monday, June 04, 2018

State Department's Annual Report on International Child Abduction: Japan


The U.S. State Department has recently released their annual report on International Child Abduction. Below is our eighth post in a series here focusing on the twelve countries classified as “demonstrating patterns of noncompliance.”  Today’s country is Japan.
Country Summary: The Hague Abduction Convention entered into force between the United States and Japan in 2014. Since then Japan has made measurable progress on international parental child abduction. The number of abductions to Japan reported to the Department has decreased since the Convention came into force for Japan. Despite this progress, in cases where taking parents refused to comply with court return orders, there were no effective means to enforce the order, resulting in a pattern of noncompliance. As a result of this failure, 22 percent of requests for the return of abducted children under the Convention remained unresolved for more than 12 months. On average these cases were unresolved for one year and 10 months. The Department continues to urge Japan to resolve the 21 pre-Convention abduction cases that remained open at the end of the year, all of which have been outstanding for many years. 
Initial Inquiries: In 2017, the Department received three initial inquiries from parents regarding possible abductions to Japan where no completed applications were submitted to the Department.

Central Authority: The United States and the Japanese Central Authorities have a strong and productive relationship that facilitates the resolution of abduction cases under the Convention. The Japanese Central Authority has focused effectively on preventing abductions, expanding mediation between parents, and promoting voluntary returns. The average number of children reported abducted to Japan each year has decreased by 44 percent since 2014, when the Convention came into force in Japan.
Voluntary Resolution: The Convention states that central authorities "shall take all appropriate measures to secure the voluntary return of the child or to bring about an amicable resolution of the issues." In 2017, four abduction cases were resolved through voluntary means. 

Location: The competent authorities regularly took appropriate steps to locate children after a Convention application was filed. The average time to locate a child was 15 days. 
Judicial Authorities: The judicial authorities of Japan routinely reached timely decisions in accordance with the Convention. Japanese courts routinely issued orders pursuant to the Convention for children's return. 
Enforcement: Unless the taking parent voluntarily complied with a return order under the Convention, judicial decisions in Convention cases in Japan were not enforced. There are two cases (accounting for 100 percent of the unresolved cases) that have been pending for more than 12 months where law enforcement has failed to enforce the return order. Japan’s inability to quickly and effectively enforce Hague return orders appears to stem from limitations in Japanese law including requirements that direct enforcement take place in the home and presence of the taking parent, that the child willingly leave the taking parent, and that the child face no risk of psychological harm. As a result, it is very difficult to achieve enforcement of Hague return orders. In addition, the enforcement process is excessively long. Left-behind parents who have obtained Hague return orders can spend more than a year in follow-on legal proceedings seeking an order to enforce the Hague order. 
Access: In 2017, the U.S. Central Authority acted on a total of 37 open access cases under the Convention in Japan. Of these, three cases were opened in 2017. A total of 36 access cases have been filed with the Japanese Central Authority, including two of the three cases opened in 2017. By December 31, 2017, six cases (16 percent) have been resolved and five cases have been closed for other reasons. Of those resolved, one was as a result of a voluntary agreement between the parents. By December 31, 2017, 26 access cases remained open, including 23 that have been active for more than 12 months without achieving meaningful access. The total number of Convention access cases at the beginning of 2017 includes 14 pre-Convention abduction cases that later filed for access under the Convention. Of these, one resolved, four closed for other reasons, and nine remained open at the end of 2017. In addition to filing for Hague access, these LBPs continue to seek the return of their abducted children. 
Pre-Convention Cases: At the end of 2017, 12 pre-Convention abduction cases remained open in Japan. In 2017, seven pre-Convention cases were resolved and one pre-Convention case was closed for other reasons. In these cases, the parents have chosen not to file for access under the Convention.
Department Recommendations: The Department will continue its engagement with relevant Japanese authorities to address the areas of concern highlighted in this report.

Friday, June 01, 2018

State Department's Annual Report on International Child Abduction: India


The U.S. State Department has recently released their annual report on International Child Abduction. Below is our seventh post in a series here focusing on the twelve countries classified as “demonstrating patterns of noncompliance.”  Today’s country is India.
Country Summary: India does not adhere to any protocols with respect to international parental child abduction. In 2017, India demonstrated a pattern of noncompliance. Specifically, the competent authorities in India persistently failed to work with the Department of State to resolve abduction cases. As a result of this failure, 90 percent of requests for the return of abducted children remained unresolved for more than 12 months. On average, these cases were unresolved for one year and ten months. India has been cited as noncompliant since 2014.
Initial Inquiries: In 2017, the Department received 11 initial inquiries from parents regarding possible abductions to India in which no additional assistance was requested or necessary documentation was not received as of December 31, 2017.

Central Authority: In 2017, the competent authorities in India demonstrated a pattern of noncompliance by regularly declining to work with the Department of State toward the resolution of pending abduction cases. Moreover, the competent authorities have failed to resolve cases. While the Indian government repeatedly met with U.S. officials to discuss abduction cases, thus far, it has failed to take concrete steps to resolve pending cases.
Voluntary Resolution: In 2017, seven abduction cases were resolved through voluntary means.

Location: The Department of State did not request assistance with location from the Indian authorities.
Judicial Authorities: Without the Hague Abduction Convention or any other protocols intended to resolve abduction cases, parents generally must pursue custody of abducted children in Indian courts. Judicial action in custody cases in India has been slow, and Indian courts tend to default to granting custody to the taking parent. The lack of clear legal procedures for addressing international parental child abduction cases under Indian law makes it difficult for India to resolve these cases.
Enforcement: While domestic court orders in India are generally enforced, in some cases the Indian authorities faced challenges with enforcement.
Department Recommendations: The Department will continue to encourage India to accede to the Convention and expand public diplomacy activities related to the Convention.

Thursday, May 31, 2018

State Department's Annual Report on International Child Abduction: Ecuador


The U.S. State Department has recently released their annual report on International Child Abduction. Below is our sixth post in a series here focusing on the twelve countries classified as “demonstrating patterns of noncompliance.”  Today’s country is Ecuador.
Country Summary: The Hague Abduction Convention has been in force between the United States and Ecuador since 1992. In 2017, Ecuador demonstrated a pattern of noncompliance. Specifically, Ecuador’s judicial branch and law enforcement authorities regularly fail to implement and comply with the provisions of the Hague Abduction Convention. As a result of this failure, one case (accounting for 13 percent of requests for the return of abducted children under the Convention) remained unresolved for more than 12 months. More specifically, this case has been unresolved for four years and 11 months. Ecuador has been cited since 2015.
Initial Inquiries: In 2017, the Department received two initial inquiries from parents regarding possible abductions to Ecuador where no completed applications were submitted to the Department.

Significant Developments: The Ecuadorian Central Authority moved from the Ministry of Economic and Social Inclusion to the Ministry of Justice in June 2017, and a new director was appointed in mid-November 2017.
Central Authority: While the United States and the Ecuadorian Central Authorities (ECA) have a cooperative relationship, delays in communication about actions to resolve Convention cases are an area of continuing concern. The Department encounters occasional delays in receiving responses from the ECA. However, we are encouraged by the ECA’s participation in bimonthly video conferences with the Department.

Voluntary Resolution: The Convention states that central authorities "shall take all appropriate measures to secure the voluntary return of the child or to bring about an amicable resolution of the issues." In 2017, two abduction cases were resolved through voluntary means.
Location: Ecuador demonstrated a pattern of noncompliance with the Convention as a result of failure by the competent authorities to take appropriate steps to locate children after a Convention application was filed. As a result, there is one case (accounting for 100 percent of the unresolved cases) that has been pending for more than 12 months where law enforcement has failed to locate the child, leading to significant delays in initiating legal proceedings. The average time to locate a child was 59 days.
Judicial Authorities: The Ecuadorian judicial authorities demonstrated a pattern of noncompliance with the Convention. Specifically, there were delays in judicial authorities deciding cases and some decisions raised concerns.
Enforcement: Decisions in Convention cases in Ecuador were generally enforced in a timely manner. The Department was encouraged when law enforcement promptly enforced the one court-ordered return this year, overseeing the child's departure from Ecuador.
Department Recommendations: The Department will continue intense engagement with the Ecuadorian authorities to address issues of concern and expand public diplomacy activities related to the resolution of cases.
Access: In 2017, the U.S. Central Authority had one open access case under the Convention in Ecuador. This case was opened in 2017. This case has been filed with the Ecuadorian Central Authority. This case was initially filed in 2017. By December 31, 2017, this case remained open. No cases have been pending with the Ecuadorian authorities for more than 12 months.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

State Department's Annual Report on International Child Abduction: Dominican Republic


The U.S. State Department has recently released their annual report on International Child Abduction. Below is our fifth post in a series here focusing on the twelve countries classified as “demonstrating patterns of noncompliance.”  Today’s country is the Dominican Republic.
Country Summary: The Hague Abduction Convention has been in force between the United States and the Dominican Republic since 2007. In 2017, the Dominican Republic demonstrated a pattern of noncompliance. Specifically, the Dominican Republic’s judicial branch regularly fails to implement and comply with the provisions of the Convention. As a result of this failure, 20 percent of requests for the return of abducted children under the Convention remained unresolved for more than 12 months. On average these cases were unresolved for six years and eight months. The Dominican Republic has been cited since 2014.
Initial Inquiries: In 2017, the Department received three initial inquiries from parents regarding possible abductions to the Dominican Republic where no completed applications were submitted to the Department.

Central Authority: The United States and the Dominican Central Authorities have a strong and productive relationship that facilitates the resolution of abduction cases under the Convention.
Voluntary Resolution: The Convention states that central authorities “shall take all appropriate measures to secure the voluntary return of the child or to bring about an amicable resolution of the issues.” In 2017, one abduction case was resolved through voluntary means.

Location: The competent authorities regularly took appropriate steps to locate children after a Convention application was filed. The average time to locate a child was nine days.
Judicial Authorities: Dominican judicial authorities demonstrated a pattern of noncompliance, with serious delays at the appellate level in deciding Convention cases. Cases that are appealed to higher courts have taken more than four years to resolve.
Enforcement: As a result of serious delays by the judicial authorities of the Dominican Republic in deciding Convention cases, the United States is not aware of any instances where law enforcement was asked to enforce a return order in 2017.
Department Recommendations: The Department will continue its engagement with relevant Dominican authorities to address the areas of concern highlighted in this report.
Access: In 2017, the U.S. Central Authority had one open access case under the Convention in the Dominican Republic. This case was opened and initially filed with the Dominican Central Authority in 2017. As of December 31, 2017, this case remained open. No access cases have been pending with the Dominican authorities for more than 12 months.

Friday, May 25, 2018

“Getting” Serious: Religious Divorce in Israel


Jeremy D. Morley
A firestorm has arisen in Israel after a man who has been sanctioned by a rabbinical court in Haifa was allowed to enter the Knesset this week, upon the invitation of a right-wing American-born Israeli politician.

Divorce in Israel is the exclusive province of the religious courts, although both civil courts and religious courts may determine the financial consequences of a divorce as well as child custody issues. 
A Jewish religious divorce requires that the husband choose to provide the wife with a bill of divorce known as a get. If a Jewish wife who is separated from her husband does not receive (and accept) a get, she cannot remarry in a religious ceremony. Indeed, if she legally remarries in a secular ceremony before receiving a get, she is considered an adulteress under Jewish law.
Rabbinical courts in Israel have issued sanctions to seek to compel husbands to deliver a get to their estranged wives. Thus, the Jerusalem Post reports that the Haifa Rabbinical Court issued an order of social ostracism against the husband last year for refusing to give his wife a bill of divorce for two years. Specifically, the court ordered that people should not host the husband in question and should distance themselves from him as far as possible. The court also revoked his driver’s license and banned him from leaving the country. Subsequently, the court ordered that his picture, name and other details be published so as to shame him publicly for refusing to divorce his wife.
Nonetheless, the husband was invited to the Knesset by an Israeli Knesset Member, and his appearance there aroused the ire of other members, two of whom were ejected from the Knesset plenum because of their “loud and vociferous” protestations.
A Knesset legal adviser then advised that the social sanctions used by the rabbinical court due to divorce recalcitrance do not come within the boundaries of the authority granted to the Knesset speaker to prevent the entry of someone for security and public order reason.
The entire issue of the use and abuse of the get system continues to arouse great controversy among in Israel and throughout the worldwide Jewish community. 

Thursday, May 24, 2018

June 5th, Washington D.C. Conference: Cross-Border Family Mediation: Dispute Resolution for International Families In Your Community


Join us for our day-long conference, Cross-Border Family Mediation: Dispute Resolution for International Families In Your Community on June 5, 2018 in Washington, D.C., co-hosted by International Social Service-USA (ISS-USA), MK Family Law, The George Washington University School of Law, and Leslie Ellen Shear, Attorney and Counselor at Law. 
This event will bring together leading experts to discuss mediation as a key process to help cross-border families with their complex situations. Scheduled one day prior to the annual AFCC Conference in D.C., conference attendees will have a wealth of resources and excellent networking opportunities at their finger-tips.
Jeremy will be speaking at the event.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

State Department's Annual Report on International Child Abduction: Brazil


The U.S. State Department has recently released their annual report on International Child Abduction. Below is our fourth post in a series here focusing on the twelve countries classified as “demonstrating patterns of noncompliance.”  Today’s country is China.
Country Summary: China does not adhere to any protocols with respect to international parental child abduction. In 2017, China demonstrated a pattern of noncompliance. Specifically, the competent authorities in China persistently failed to work with the Department of State to resolve abduction cases. As a result of this failure, 75 percent of requests for the return of abducted children remained unresolved for more than 12 months. On average these cases were unresolved for two years.
Initial Inquiries: In 2017, the Department received two initial inquiries from parents regarding possible abductions to China where no additional assistance was requested.

Central Authority: In 2017, the competent authorities in China demonstrated a pattern of noncompliance by regularly declining to work with the Department of State toward the resolution of pending abduction cases. Moreover, the competent authorities did not address remedies for left-behind parents.
Location: The Department of State did not request assistance with location from the Chinese authorities.

Judicial Authorities: The United States is not aware of any abduction cases brought before the Chinese judiciary in 2017.
Enforcement: The United States is not aware of any abduction cases in which a judicial order relating to international parental child abduction needed to be enforced by the Chinese authorities.
Department Recommendations: The Department will continue to encourage China to accede to the Convention, and expand public diplomacy activities related to the Convention.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

State Department's Annual Report on International Child Abduction: Brazil


The U.S. State Department has recently released their annual report on International Child Abduction. Below is our third post in a series here focusing on the twelve countries classified as “demonstrating patterns of noncompliance.”  Today’s country is Brazil.
Country Summary: The Hague Abduction Convention has been in force between the United States and Brazil since 2003. In 2017, Brazil demonstrated a pattern of noncompliance. Specifically, Brazil’s judicial branch regularly fails to implement and comply with the provisions of the Convention. As a result of this failure, 35 percent of requests for the return of abducted children under the Convention remained unresolved for more than 12 months. On average these cases were unresolved for five years and 11 months. Brazil has been cited as noncompliant since 2006.
Initial Inquiries: In 2017, the Department received two initial inquiries from parents regarding possible abductions to Brazil where no completed applications were submitted to the Department.

Significant Developments: The Brazilian Ministry of Justice, Ministry of External Relations, and judiciary collaborated on two Convention-specific judicial seminars held in November and December 2017. The Ministry of Justice and the judiciary are also working to consolidate the jurisdictions in which Convention cases can be heard. The Brazilians report their goal in consolidating jurisdictions is to help ensure that Convention cases are heard by judges who are familiar with the Convention. These initiatives demonstrate that Brazil is making some efforts to improve Convention compliance in the judiciary.
Central Authority: The United States and the Brazilian Central Authorities have a strong and productive relationship that facilitates the resolution of abduction cases under the Convention.

Voluntary Resolution: The Convention states that central authorities "shall take all appropriate measures to secure the voluntary return of the child or to bring about an amicable resolution of the issues." In 2017, two abduction cases were resolved through voluntary means.
Location: In some cases, the competent authorities delayed taking appropriate steps to locate a child after a Convention application was filed. The average time to locate a child was five months and four days.
Judicial Authorities: Brazilian judicial authorities demonstrated a pattern of noncompliance with the Convention due to serious delays in deciding Convention cases. As a result of these delays, cases may be pending with the judiciary for over one year.
Enforcement: As a result serious delays by the Brazilian judicial authorities in deciding Convention cases, the United States is not aware of any instances where law enforcement was asked to enforce a return order in 2017.
Department Recommendations: The Department will continue intense engagement with the Brazilian authorities to address issues of concern and expand public diplomacy activities related to the resolution of cases
Access: In 2017, the U.S. Central Authority acted on a total of seven open access cases under the Convention in Brazil. Of these, two cases were opened in 2017. A total of six access cases have been filed with the Brazilian Central Authority, including one that was filed initially in 2017. By December 31, 2017, one case (14%) has been resolved and one case has been closed for other reasons. By December 31, 2017, five access cases remained open, including three that have been pending with the Brazilian authorities for more than 12 months.

Monday, May 21, 2018

State Department's Annual Report on International Child Abduction: The Bahamas


The U.S. State Department has recently released their annual report on International Child Abduction. Below is our second post in a series here focusing on the twelve countries classified as “demonstrating patterns of noncompliance.”  Today’s country is The Bahamas.
Country Summary: The Hague Abduction Convention has been in force between the United States and The Bahamas since 1994. In 2017, The Bahamas demonstrated a pattern of noncompliance. Specifically, the Bahamian Central Authority regularly fails to fulfill its responsibilities pursuant to the Convention. Additionally, The Bahamas’ judicial branch regularly fails to implement and comply with the provisions of the Convention. As a result of these failures, 50 percent of requests for the return of abducted children under the Convention remained unresolved for more than 12 months. On average these cases were unresolved for seven years and two months. The Bahamas has been cited as noncompliant since 2011.

Central Authority: The Bahamian Central Authority demonstrated a pattern of noncompliance with the Convention due to a lack of effective communication with the U.S. Central Authority regarding IPCA cases.
Location: The competent authorities regularly took appropriate steps to locate children after a Convention application was filed. The average time to locate a child was three months and 16 days.

Judicial Authorities: The Bahamian judicial authorities demonstrated a pattern of noncompliance with the Convention due to serious delays in deciding Convention cases. As a result of these delays, cases may be pending with the judiciary for over one year. Bahamian courts cause delays by routinely requesting home study evaluations in all Convention cases, regardless of whether respondents raise defenses to return under the Convention. Additionally, the judicial authorities continue to require apostilles for supporting documents in Convention applications. These extra requirements impeded prompt resolutions.
Enforcement: As a result of serious delays by the Bahamian judicial authorities in deciding Convention cases, the United States is not aware of any instances where law enforcement was asked to enforce a return order in 2017.
Department Recommendations: The Department will continue intense engagement with the Bahamian authorities to address issues of concern and expand public diplomacy activities related to the resolution of cases.
Access: In 2017, the U.S. Central Authority had no open access cases under the Convention in The Bahamas.