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International abductions in non-Hague Convention cases

A previous Mississippi blog post discussed the Hague Abduction Convention, an international treaty that allows parents to request access to, or the return of, their child who was wrongfully taken across international borders. However, parents may only do so if the other country has adopted the Convention. There are other avenues of assistance for parents of children who were internationally abducted to a country that has not adopted the Convention.

If a child is abducted to a country that is not party to the Convention, the parent seeking return of the child is subject to the laws of that country in attempting to settle the custody dispute. If the Convention does not apply, the United States Department of State can help by responding to requests for assistance from parents or from foreign embassies in the United States.

The office may provide information and resources about international child abduction. It may also work with INTERPOL, the world's largest international police organization, if the child was abducted from one of INTERPOL's 187 member countries. The Department of State may help to locate the child if INTERPOL has officially listed the child as missing.

The Department of State may also provide mediation information or a list of attorneys upon request. However, the office is unable to physically pick up the child in the U.S. or provide parents with legal advice or representation. The non-profit, non-government organization, National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) offers free services including creating missing posters for the child. International child custody disputes are best handled preemptively by creating a prenuptial agreement that addresses where the child will live in the event of marital issues or divorce.

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