First steps: a spouse kidnapped a child, and took him/her to Russia
What a parent, a citizen of a foreign country, should do first of all, if the other parent, a Russian citizen, took a child back to his native country?
This is the theme of our today’s conversation.
First of all, I want to remind you that your focus should be the Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction (25 October 1980), and the Convention on Jurisdiction, Applicable Law, Recognition, Enforcement and Cooperation in Respect of Parental Responsibility and Measures for the Protection of Children (19 October 1996). Both conventions were ratified by the Russian Federation.
First of all, you need to contact the police. In many countries kidnapping a child by the other parent is a criminal offense. Please, consider that today in Russia there is no criminal responsibility for such a case.
Second, you need to declare through court action your right of custody of the child. This procedure may have different names in different countries. The main point is that the court acknowledges you as the main guardian and not the other parent.
Third, and perhaps the most important, you should file an application to the Central body of your country. For example, the Central body in Russia is the Department of state policy in the sphere of protection of children’s rights of the Ministry of education and science of the Russian Federation.
The Central bodies of different countries interact with each other. The Central body can help you discover the whereabouts of the child, give you the information about him/her, help peacefully resolve the conflict, and return the child to you as soon as possible. In the case of legal proceedings, the Central body can also assist you.
The most important thing is that you are limited in time. For example, if you decide to look for your child in three years, it will be too late. You should act immediately. If you request to return your child after a long time, the court may find the child’s return being against his/her interests.