Returning Abducted Children to Israel
This article addresses the topic of returning abducted children to Israel.
Laws on Returning Abducted Children to Israel
Israel is a signatory to the Hague Convention addressing the return of abducted children, which protects the custody rights of the “remaining parent” if the other parent takes the child to a foreign country and chooses to reside there without the consent of the remaining parent. This law helps ensure the quick return of the child. The reasoning behind this law is that it is bad for a child’s welfare to be outside of their “natural” place of residence, the place where their center of life has been, while also protecting the custody rights of parents.
The Role of the Courts
Israeli courts can help ensure the return of an abducted child. Once a child has been abducted, the court recommends that you act quickly to return the child to their habitual residence (or home country) as quickly as possible to prevent psychological harm and further disruption to the child. If you wait too long, and then initiate proceedings, for example, more than a year after a child was taken, the other parent can argue that uprooting the child will cause them harm, weakening the argument of the parent filing the abduction case.
When Does the Hague Convention Law Apply
It is easiest to return an abducted child when the Hague Convention Law clearly applies, namely, when the child has been taken from Israel, a signatory of the Hague Convention, to another country that is also a signatory of the Hague Convention. Additionally, the child must be under the age of 16 when they are abducted in order for the law to apply.
Who Do I Turn to If My Child Was Abducted
The Israeli Department of International Affairs (also known as the Central Authority within the State Attorney’s Office) is in charge of dealing with matters regarding abducted children. There are a number of cases they deal with. This includes children who have been taken from Israel without the consent of both parents and children who are taken by one parent on a vacation to which both parents consented, but are not returned to Israel by the parents. The Department of International Affairs also works with the police to decide if the parent who has taken the child should be prosecuted.
Once you contact the Department, it is advisable to also work with a private attorney to help explore the details of the case and build the strongest argument for the return of your children. Your lawyer will simultaneously pursue action in Israeli family courts.
This Series of Articles
This article is one in a longer series on the issue of child abduction. For more information on the legal procedure for child abduction in Israel, Israeli child abduction laws, how long the process takes, how to choose a child abduction attorney, and more, see the relevant articles.
Advocate Anat Levi in the law offices of Cohen, Decker, Pex & Brosh specializes in child abduction and family law. If you seek assistance with returning abducted children to Israel, please contact us.