Data shows that families in British Columbia and across Canada have seen a 40 per cent rise in parental kidnappings and custody battles between nations since 2009, according to the Department of Foreign Affairs. Toward the end of April, the department was addressing 240 active cases that involved international parental kidnappings. Many of the cases involved other nations that have agreed to the terms of the Hague Convention, an international treaty that attempts to work out parenting terms in cases between two countries.
One father talked about his battle to regain custody of his two boys after their mother brought them to Poland without his knowledge. She now refuses to send them home even though the courts in both nations have ruled in his favour. He explained that his sons were born in Canada and expressed his frustration that they were taken out of the country. He decided to start a group for parents in similar situations and cited unofficial reports of how many international child abductions occur each year in Canada. A person in upper management at the Canadian Centre for Child Protection admitted that these cases are very complicated.
When a country has not agreed to the terms of the Hague Convention, the cases can become even more frustrating for left-behind parents. However, it was not clear how many cases involved countries that did not agree to the Hague terms. Part of the problem stems from the marriage of two people from different countries, the birth of their children and a subsequent divorce.
International parental abductions can be some of the toughest cases in family law, and the problem is becoming more frequent as globalization increases. The province insists that children of separated or divorced parents have their time divided between the parents in such a way that it benefits the children, not the parents, the most.
Source: Windsor Star, “International parental abductions, cross-border custody battles up”, Lee Berthiaume, April 27, 2014
Laughlin & Company Lawyers Mediators
2755 Lougheed Hwy #710, Port Coquitlam, BC V3B 5Y9