How Do I File a Hague Petition?

At Schaffer Family Law, Ltd., we know that custody disputes can be complex and difficult for all parties involved. When these disputes are international, they can become incredibly stressful.

Our firm assists parents all over Naperville, Chicago, Illinois and the world who are victims of family abductions and need help with the return of their child. We have more than 30 years of experience handling a wide variety of child custody issues and have had success in international child custody issues. We can help you too.

Understanding the Hague Convention

The Hague Convention is a treaty that was formed to protect children and assist families facing international custody disputes. The treaty secures the return of children who have been wrongfully taken to another country and ensures that custody rights and agreements made by one country are properly enforced by signatory nations.

It's important to know, however, that not all countries have signed the Hague Convention. Worse still, some signatory nations have failed to consistently adhere to the Convention, effectively "going rogue" and drawing out the return of a child to his or her custodial parent or guardian. These are common hurdles left-behind parents must contend with — hurdles our firm knows how to effectively address and resolve.

Steps for Filing a Hague Petition

The process of seeking the return of a child who has been unlawfully taken from one parent by the other parent to another country is incredibly complex, requiring intimate knowledge of multiple family laws in multiple jurisdictions, an understanding of every step in the process, and the timing of submitting documents and appearing at hearings, as well as who to talk to within the U.S. and foreign governments.

For left-behind parents with little to no legal background, this process can be incredibly confusing and frustrating and leave room for mistakes that could mean a parent being unable to see his or her child for months or even years.

At Schaffer Family Law, Ltd., lawyer David N. Schaffer has handled numerous child custody cases involving foreign governments. We will work alongside the U.S. government and with foreign governments to determine your child's residence and which laws are applicable in your situation. When you are ready, we will assist you with the following steps in the Hague application processes:

  1. Contacting the designated U.S. central authority (or the central authority in another country if you do not live in the United States)
  2. Filling out a Hague application and gathering the necessary documents to support your claim for the return of your child
  3. Filing a petition with either the state or federal district court that presides over cases for your area of residency
  4. Establishing a prima facie case for the return of your child and arguing for the return of the child under applicable laws

Depending on the merit of the petition, the court may order the immediate return of the child to his or her country of habitual residence.

How Schaffer Family Law Can Help You and Your Family

Because Hague petitions must be filed in federal district court, it's important to have the right family law attorney at your side, especially considering the fact that many family lawyers are not licensed to practice in federal court.

Whether you live in Naperville, Chicago or elsewhere in Illinois or the world, you can always turn to attorney David N. Schaffer for help with an international child custody matter, including filing Hague applications. He is well-versed in the Hague Convention and can handle these types of cases in whatever court is required.

He will fight to protect your parental rights and has successfully done so for dozens of left-behind parents in the past.

Advocating at All Stages of the Process

If you're hoping for an end to your international child custody dispute and eager to see your child returned, turn to a lawyer who prides himself on getting results for his clients. Contact David Schaffer at Schaffer Family Law, Ltd., to schedule a consultation where you can discuss your case and legal options.

Contact us online or call 630-922-4500 to set up an initial consultation. We serve clients throughout Naperville, Illinois and the world.