International child abduction

To many, International Child Abduction may sound exotic and alien in safe and sunny Singapore. This is not quite true

 

Expatriate and Cross Nationality Marriages 

Given the cosmopolitan nature of Singapore and the increasing number of expatriates who have come here to live and work, international child abduction in Singapore is not something as rare as you may think.

 

In cross nationality divorces, one of the divorced spouses may decide to relocate out of Singapore, back to their country of origin. When there are children involved, this makes matters a lot more complicated.

 

Unless the other divorced spouse gives his/ her consent, relocation with a child requires that due process is observed.

 

In the event your ex-spouse relocates or wrongfully removes your child out of the child’s habitual residence for more than one month without your permission or leave of Court, this will amount to child abduction!

 

The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction

 

In March 2011, the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction came into effect in Singapore. It is an international treaty that protects children from the harmful effects of international abduction. There are currently 97 signatory nations including Singapore, Japan, Australia, the United Kingdom, China, the Philippines and the United States.

 

Obtaining the Return of an Abducted Child

 

The parent who finds that the child has been wrongfully removed, can apply to the Singapore Central Authority (which operates under the Ministry of Social and Family Development) to obtain the return of the child.  This must be done within one year of the child’s removal from the country. The parent has the option of two processes of assistance:

  • An application for assistance; and
  • An application for a Court order.

 

Should such an issue arise, a lawyer should be appointed to enforce the order for the child to be returned. Parties have to act efficiently to ensure the return of the child to his/her habitual residence.

 

Defending allegations of Child Abduction

 

On the other hand, if you have a case filed against you for international child abduction, there are some defences you could rely on against the claim of wrongful removal or retention.

 

The entire process for child abduction cases can be complicated depending on the facts and circumstances surrounding your case. Should you face such an issue, it is best to seek legal advice. Send us an email to info@silvesterlegal.com.

 

Please note that this article does not constitute express or implied legal advice, whether in whole or in part. If you require legal advice, please contact us at info@silvesterlegal.com for your free first legal consultation.