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Father applies through treaty to get abducted children back

Connecticut residents who follow incidents of international abduction may know that a Colorado father's journey to have his children returned is almost at an end. After he won primary custody of his children in a Colorado court, his Argentine-born wife took his daughters to Buenos Aires and established residence. The father made an application pursuant to the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction to bring the children back and has spent years waiting for rthe process to conclude.

In 2010, the couple divorced and began a 13-month custody dispute. A Colorado court ruled that the father would have primary child custody of his two daughters. Three weeks later, however, his ex-wife took them to Argentina in violation of the order. In an attempt to have his daughters returned, he turned to the provisions of the Hague Convention, a multinational treaty whose signatories have agreed to protect children from the harm of being abducted over international borders.

Although the treaty attempts to return children quickly to their home country after an application has been made, Argentina allows for multiple appeals by the non-applying parent. After more than three years and numerous appeals, his ex-wife made one last appeal to the Supreme Court of Argentina, which recently denied the mother's final and last petition. Now the father awaits an order from the U.S. State Department to return the children to the country.

Other parents who have faced the same issue as the Colorado father have worked with a New Jersey representative to quicken the process of getting their children back. Proposed legislation would allow the United States to impose sanctions on member countries that fail to uphold the treaty. With more than 1,000 American children abducted to another country in 2013, the bill has already passed the House of Representatives and is being considered by a Senate committee.

Source: CNN, "U.S. Dad Wins Huge Custody Fight", Emily Heil, April 03, 2014

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