Document Type


Publication Date

Summer 2013


The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction (the Convention) was enacted in response to a pattern of parental abduction across international borders to thwart or preempt custody arrangements in one country and seek a more advantageous setting for litigating custody issues in another. Consequently, the Convention was designed to discourage the abduction of children across international borders and to encourage respect for custody and access arrangements in countries from which children were abducted. To implement the Convention, the United States enacted the International Child Abduction Remedies Act (ICARA) on April 29, 1988. Much has been written in recent years about the conflict between the Convention and laws designed to protect children from parental abuse or domestic violence, in part due to growing evidence that a majority of return cases are brought by men against women, many involving women alleging that they are fleeing with their children from domestic abuse. This article explores ways of correcting an imbalance that favors the policy of preventing child abduction at the expense of exposing children to domestic violence and makes recommendations for standardizing the outcomes of cases in U.S. courts involving allegations of parental abuse or other domestic violence, given a concerning trend of ad hoc and inconsistent results in cases decided under the Convention.