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Child Abduction – the return of a child to his home

Anat Levi
Anat Levi

Alexander P Gutterman

EU PASSPORT ! Big news! Thanks to Michael Decker and the other good people at the law office, as well as to the virtue of my ancestors, the cruelty of the Inquisition, reparations issued in the Iberian Peninsula, and etc, I am delighted to be on track for Portuguese and European Union Citizenship! A truly incredible development and one which brings me deep joy.

Josh W-S

The firm had a quick response to my last-minute needs, they were helpful in communicating with me in English, and they fulfilled my needs in a timely fashion.

Amir Abt

The best lawyer firm I’ve had dealt with. I would like to thank Anat Levi and Ariel Galili from the Jerusalem branch for all of their efforts and patience, we could not have been Able to reach to where we are now without them

Priscilla Moses

competent consulting, fast processing, reliable, warm & good team. highly recommended

TarcisioePotira Freitas

I really recommend the law office's services. The service is very professional and efficient, the price is right. I am satisfied with the services I needed and happy to have known them.

Morgan Jones

The team at Decker, Pex & Co have been awesome to work with in helping our US company establish banking in Israel and in providing counsel for legal needs in Israel. I highly recommend!

Esty A

I had a consultation with Batya and she was very helpful. She made sure I understood all the information I needed, and was patient with me in gathering documents I needed.

Lauma Zariņa

This is definitely the best lawyer I know!!! very honest and super helpful he really helped me a lot dealing with immigration issues in Israel and it was very successful!
I highly recommend

Sophie Cooperman

Oded Ger did an excellent job by reviewing a modeling contract I was offered. Explained the bad clauses in the contract, and their possible consequences. Thank you for your amazing job, your professionalism, your consultation and honesty. You showed me from your experience how it can be done differently. It was the best decision choosing you as my lawyer.
I highly recommend this firm, especially Oded Ger.

Michael Soffer

I would like to recommend Attorney Yehuda Elcharar. He assisted both me and my company in a complex lawsuit. He handled negotiations that led to a favorable outcome much quicker than expected.

I am extremely pleased with choosing Attorney Elcharar. Many thanks also to the office team, Oz and Chaya, for their assistance throughout the entire process.

Thanks again ????

Israel iluz

We were very satisfied with the service of Nehama. She was very professional in all her dealings and kept us informed all the way.
We highly recommend this law firm. They proved to be reliable, efficient and pleasant to work with.

Gáspár Erőss

If you need to solve any complicated legal issue in Israel, don't hesitate to contact them. Otherwise you will loose hours/days/weeks with things that they can solve in minutes. They helped me to obtain my expert working visa in Israel and even after that they responded further questions and gave me advices related to administrative issues in Israel which saved me a lot of time. Irena Rosenberg and Michael Decker worked on my case, they are very professional and helpful. They will not let you down, feel free to contact them.

Halvor Ronning

Courteous, clear, efficient service.

Stuart Safft

I am delighted to report that my wife and I have just obtained our Israeli citizenship. We will be forever grateful for all of the help, guidance and support which Ariel Galili of Decker, Pex & Co. provided through this process.
I am a Jewish, 80-year-old American, and my wife is not Jewish. We had started the process on our own back in November 2020 via the Jewish Agency and Nefesh B’Nefesh, but soon became entangled in the delays and often-changing regulations due to Covid-19. The pandemic also caused delays in obtaining the required apostilles for various documents from various state agencies and the US State Department.
We found Decker, Pex & Co. On the internet and began working with Ariel in late November 2021. Ariel did a superb job of leading us through the process, helping us to understand which documents were essential, which would most likely be required, and which, though included on the list of required documents, were rarely required. He helped us several times to understand what was likely and unlikely to occur as “the next step.” Helping us manage our expectations was extremely useful to us.
Besides his knowing the laws, regulations and procedures, Ariel also made us feel that he was truly interested in helping us to successfully work through this process in as smooth, timely, and frustration-free manner as possible.
My wife and I strongly recommend anyone planning to go through this process seriously consider hiring Decker, Pex, Ofir & Co. and, specifically, Ariel Galili.

Dongdiet & Nellie

We are very happy with the services. Somehow they managed to translate the law lingo into language we actually understand 😉 and their outstanding YouTube videos helped us to have a better grasp of what process we had to go through. Their patience, clear explanation and experience are very valuable. It's also very nice to know that you will receive response promptly; it made us feel we can really trust their services. We recommend all those looking for immigration lawyers to get in touch.

Matthias Oppliger

I have been receiving services from this Law Firm for several years now and I want to say THANK YOU to the team, especially Joshua Pex. They are doing outstanding work. The services I have received for both our Israeli non profit association but also our social business have helped us solve many issues at hand and provided solutions in complicated situations. Personally, I am grateful for support in visa issues as a foreigner living now in Israel for many years.


We were very pleased and content with the services of this law firm. They supported us 100% and solved our case successfully, we couldn't be happier.

Tomer Hila Birnbach

I received a recommendation from friends about the firm, and indeed every word is correct, a service team, professional, welcoming, a fair price for the work I requested, I am satisfied

Genaan Abdelall

I cannot recommend Nechama enough! Her expertise, professionalism, and dedication to her clients is unparalleled. From the moment I reached out to her, she provided clear and concise communication, and helped me navigate through a complex legal issue with ease.

Throughout the entire process, Nechama went above and beyond to ensure that I was informed and comfortable with every decision. She demonstrated a deep knowledge of the law, and was able to offer sound advice that ultimately led to a positive outcome.

What sets Nechama apart is her compassionate and empathetic approach to her clients. She truly cares about the well-being of her clients, and it shows in the way she handles every case.

If you are in need of a lawyer, I highly recommend Nechama.

Prima Lorenzo

I admire the Austrian citizenship team in Tel-Aviv branch! They deserve more then 5 stars!! They are very friendly and professional. I've got Austrian citizenship in 4 months for all family members which consists of 12 people! The entire team is very friendly and responsive. They are always answering questions and support during the process. I recommend to everyone. Was 100% satisfied.

Greg Olson

We highly recommend Adv. Mike Decker and have know him for many years. He has helped our family with many battles over the years. We recently received our permanent residency after 23 years in Israel. We so much appreciate Mike’s representation of us.

Sergei m Vashkevich

We came to Mr. Joshua with so many questions (and most of all, with so many concerns and worries) …

When we explained our case to him, first of all, he calmed us down and helped us to see the big picture, which took away our fears;

Then he presented us with a detailed explanation and a few options to explore, and a timeline, how things work and necessary steps to undertake on our part,

We thank and highly recommend Mr. Joshua for showing us so much empathy, care and professionalism (!)

Paul Prince

The team of lawyers and assistants are incredibly professional. Aiming to give their clients the advice possible regarding the normative and the law of Israel. With well trained and professional secretary at the front desk to the lawyers team, I could say that I had one of the most professional services possible. I'm super glad of choosing Joshua Pex of Law office for immigration solution, lawyers to advise in my case, to me, it is remarkable.

Lilian Granovsky

I can highly recommend these services!
Every time we turned to Joshua we always got a professional quick and helpful respond.

Marce Ruth St. Rey

Party time in the heart, my beloved husband received his residence after so much time of battles and faith. Gratitude, God has blessed us with wonderful beings who have accompanied us, including a "precious angel" who touched our hearts, our excellent and fantastic lawyer: Maria Chernin Dekel, sweet and wonderful human being, who has guided us and stayed On our side. side in this intense legal transit whom we bless on every occasion. God bless you dear Maria, you have exceeded your professional duty by containing us and collaborating with us in hard times, very hard, for that we want to thank you publicly, you are unique!!!
We bless and thank the entire team at Decker Pex Tal Ofir Law Firm.

Shaltiel Devorah

Mr. Joshua Pex is knowledgeable and Professional. I really appreciate his courteous and direct approach.

Shurouq Hajyassin

We were very satisfied with the consultation we had.
You were very straightforward with us , You tried to help us in every way you could . we really appreciate that.
And of course the fast reply we got from you on our emails and the appointment you gave us .
You deserve more than 5 stars????

Sveta Vashkevich

We (myself and my husband) came to Mr. Joshua Pex – for his professional advice – and we received such human warmth and caring attitude, that our hearts melted …

His attention to our details and our situation peculiarities, combined with his professionalism and knowledge, helped us to map out what needs to be done on our part: we appreciate and recommend You, Mr. Joshua!

Наталья Мажуга

Great lawyers Joshua Pex and Nechama and Michael Deker who really want to help you and I have very trustful relationships with them. All my cases they took they won. Thank you and let’s keep working together

Arielle Bosch

Incredibly knowledgeable, approachable, accessible, and evident across the board that they truly care about the people they are helping. They are quick to respond, engaged, and obviously top-notch lawyers. I couldn't recommend them highly enough. Thank you, Joshua and Itamar for your help with our Joint Life Application. You were a calming energy during a storm - always breathed a sigh of relief after speaking with you. It is so difficult to get straight answers from the Misrad Hapnim, but you guys are straight shooters. I appreciate your candor and evident integrity. Hope to work with you in the future, and will send everyone I know in need of legal aid your way. Thank you for your guidance and support.

Andreas Kelling

We have been working with Decker, Pex & Co - Law Firm in Tel Aviv for many years very well. Because we appreciated their lawyers services, we recommended businesses and individuals again and again to go there as well.

Michael and Ariellah Waizman

For Advocate Joshua Pex.

We were in a devastating situation when my wife received an order from the immigration office to leave Israel within 30 days, without any explanation, after we have been married and in the process for six and a half years. We heard of Advocate Pex through a friend of a friend. We contacted Mr. Pex and he was ready to help us when he heard of our situation.

The service is amazing! Always ready to assist without regard to the time it takes. The advice Mr. Pex gave us was great, such as what to do, he gave useful links, and advice about which officials to contact. The price for the service was great!

The process until we received the extension for another year for my wife was not long (3 months). Things started moving once Mr. Pex came into the picture.

We highly recommend Advocate Joshua Pex! We achieved our goal and the fear of deportation has been lifted!

Dumitrascu Cristina

Best lawyer house from Israel! I couldn’t dealt with my situation without their professionalism and effectiveness. Their dedication to every legal aspect and their drive it’s how a true lawyer house can be!
Working in European market and international now, I couldn’t dare to let myself wide my wings on countries unknown to me. Definitely they’ll be the lawyers representing me, my business at every international aspect and on personal development.
When you hear Decker,Pex,Ofir &Co, you hear 10+ class services, luxurious professionals, confidentiality and exclusive attention to your needs.

Yossi Montrose

Very knowledgeable and professional


We had a pleasure of working with Irena Rosenberg who assisted in getting our two U.S. born children registered in Israel and supported visa process for my wife in 2021. During the pandemic, my wife and I decided to move to Israel where I am originally from after living in the U.S. for over 20 years, but we had no idea how to go about securing visas before and after arriving in Israel. Irena is knowledgeable, reliable and competent lawyer who always had answers to all our questions which made us feel confident that everything would be fine with her assistance. We are now happily living in Israel and are so grateful to have Irena who is a genuinely nice person as our lawyer.

lynn vonne

Excellent service, very friendly and helpful, fast responding and very patient. Highly recommend. I will choose them again next time if needed.

Jacob Newberry

A really excellent firm. They knew exactly how to handle my situation effectively and efficiently, and we got the result I needed without much fuss. Adi Berger was a wonderful advocate for me and I am deeply grateful for her help!

Adi Katina

Great Team. With no doubt, this office is actually thee best-leading office in Israel. Simply put, if you want your case to win, just join them, hand in your documents, and celebrate the victory.

Kindest regards,
Adi k.

Joshua Pex was both an amazing human being and an inspiring human rights attorney. I reported directly to him for various activities I performed as in intern. I was impressed with his incredibly solid character. He is trustworthy, fair, and goes above and beyond to advocate for the vulnerable. He is completely trustworthy and high caliber in his work. His partners and employees are very blessed to work with him. I am honored to know them.

Heather Lebrun

Eden Weiss

Extrmely friendly, professional and helpful. A big thank you to Irina especially from the Jerusalem office. Highly Recommended.

Michelle Long

Josh has been helping me on and off for a few years now. I have needed legal advice and assistance with immigration due to a complex situation of mine, and he has been extremely available and responsive, honest and clear about my route and how to proceed. Very much recommended!

David De La Rosa

Very friendly, professional, and effective, highly recommended

Kfir Cohen

We were searching for a law firm that will be honest with us and really work hard for a satisfying result, it wasn't an easy task
We found them online; they were the only law firm from all of our searchings which were completely honest and NOT gave us just what we wanted to hear
Using them guaranteed honesty above all. A legal team that is friendly and cares for a superb result
They really care about helping their customers without any other interest
Nadia gave us service behind what we expected; she was professional which lead to fast and easy process with great result
We definitely recommend using them

The “Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction” signed   in 1980 is also known as the “Hague Convention” (hereinafter: “the Convention”). The convention deals, with the issue of abduction / non-return of kids from countries that are their usual place of residence. The abduction is done when there is no consent of the other parent, and in violation of custody or visitation rights. The Convention states that in each of the signatory countries, there will be a “central authority” (hereinafter: “the Authority”) which handles such cases. Authorities in each state, will cooperate with each other on “child abduction” and work on returning the children to their habitual place of residence.

What are the objectives of the Hague Convention?

The Hague Convention for the Return of Abducted Children

The Convention has a number of objectives as follows:

  • Return of abducted / non returned children to their habitual place of residence as soon as possible. How do we determine what is the habitual place of residence? This is a factual test largely based on the child’s past daily life,  not future daily life. While future intentions of parents can be taken into consideration in the factual test, the test focuses primarily on the past.
  • Collaboration between the signatory countries, respecting custody rights or parental visitation rights of their children.
  • Parental deterrence from unilateral measures regarding their children.
  • Safeguarding and preventing harm to children due to their displacement from their habitual and natural place of residence.

Is the State of Israel signed to the Hague Convention?

The State of Israel adopted the Convention, and the law (Return of Abducted Children) (hereinafter: “the Law”) was enacted through the Hague Convention, in 1991. The law adopts the convention clauses as is. In addition, there are other instructions regarding the Convention in the Civil Procedure Regulations, 1984 (hereinafter: the “Regulations”).

Conditions for the application of the Hague Convention

In order for the convention to apply, there are a number of cumulative conditions which are listed below:

  • Both states (the child’s habitual country and the country he was abducted to) signed the convention.
  • The abducted child is under the age of 16, at the time of the abduction.
  • The parent claiming the abduction has custody / visitation rights over the child, and these rights have been exercised prior to the abduction (section 3 of the law).
  • Procedures have been opened to recover the child within a year of the abduction.

Even  after one year, the child will be returned to his  habitual place of residence, unless the child is integrated into his new environment (section 12 of the Law).

What is integration into the new environment? The child integrates well into his new environment and his return to his habitual place of residence will harm him and his well-being (Stegman v. Burke).

Who is the authorized authority in Israel to decide on the return of abducted children under the Hague Convention?

The court with authorization to rule on the return of abducted children under the Convention is the Family Court (hereinafter: “the Court”), (section 6 of the Law). The purpose of the Convention is to bring the abducted child back to his habitual place of residence as soon as possible (section 1 of the Law). In addition, to prevent the child’s “integration” claim in the abducted country, there is a need for expedited procedure.

In accordance with the above, the Court will act very quickly to clarify the applicability of the Convention to the case before it. The regulations themselves set short time frames for speeding up the procedure as follows:

  • “The hearing of the claim shall take place no later than fifteen days from the date of filing of the claim” (section 295h of the regulations).
  • “The court will give a reasonable judgment in the claim no later than six weeks from the date the claim was filed” (section 295m of the regulations).
  • “Upon filing of the claim, the plaintiff can file any interim relief application” (section 295e of the regulations). These measures are generally intended to prevent the child from being smuggled into a third country.

Are there any exceptions where a child will not be returned, even if the Hague Convention conditions are met?

Since the purpose of the convention is to return an abducted child to his habitual place of residence as quickly as possible, the court discussing the return request has very limited consideration on the matter. In addition, it will not decide on the issue of custody, this issue will be discussed at the child’s habitual residence (Section 19 of the Act, Roo v. Roo).

However, the law provides a number of exceptions, in which the child will not be returned to his habitual place of residence. The exceptions will be interpreted narrowly, and the burden of proving them is on the person claiming their existence (Gabay v. Gabay). The exceptions are as follows:

  • The parent / body / institution claiming the abduction, who has custody rights, did not exercise those rights at the time of the abduction (section 13 (a) of the law).
  • The parent / body / institution claiming the abduction, expressed consent to take the child to another state. Or, came to terms with the situation after the fact.
  • “Completion” can be done in an act (signing an agreement with the “abductor”) or implied by not taking action to return the child (Section 13 (a) of the Law).
  • “There is a grave concern that returning the child may expose him to physical or psychological harm or otherwise put the child in an intolerable situation” (Section 13 (b) of the Law).
  • “The child objects to his return and that he has reached the age and maturity level that his views should be taken into account” (Section 13 (b) of the Law).
  • “The return is not permitted under the basic principles of the requested state regarding the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms” (Section 20 of the Law).

Can abducted children be returned to their usual place of residence when the Hague Convention does not apply?

What happens when one of the terms of the convention is not fulfilled? And the convention doesn’t apply, such as:

A child aged 16-18, the country which the child was taken from or taken to, is not signed to the convention. In these cases, is there any way to return a child to his habitual place of residence?

In these cases, the child can be taken back. The party claiming the abduction should apply to the Supreme Court for the order of “Habeas Corpus” (unlawful possession). This is an order instructing the “abductor” parent to release the child because he unlawfully holds him (Amado v. Amado).

The various parties that deal with applications for the return of abducted children

There are two parties that treat cases of child abduction under the Convention:

  • The Central Authority in each of the signatory States.

In Israel, the Central Authority is the “International Department of the State Attorney’s Office”.

  • Private attorney

Sometimes the lawyers and the central authority work together to streamline the process. “Central authorities will cooperate with each other and promote cooperation between competent authorities in their countries to ensure the immediate return of children” (Section 7 of the Law).

It is recommended to contact a private attorney who will handle child abduction cases. The attorney is proficient in the various proceedings and procedures. he will also be able to expedite proceedings with the various authorities required. Another reason to contact a private attorney is the load of work usually placed on the central authority.

In addition, these cases are usually intertwined with additional conflicts (divorce), and an attorney can also address these issues as well.

Need help with recovering abducted children? Our law-firm is here at your service

At our law-firm, You will find attorneys specializing in “child abduction” cases. The attorneys will administer the various procedures for you, such as:

Filing documents, opening and answering claims, contacting the various authorities and the court, as well as any other issues related to the case.

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