Child custody is probably the most contentious area of family law simply because of the strong emotions that come into play. People feel very strongly about having custody of their children and raising them in a familiar environment. Now imagine that another country is involved, with its own laws and legal system. This can turn a delicate situation into an explosive one.

Illinois and other states have uniform laws that address child custody. They have the goal of discouraging parents from shopping around to find a state with custody laws and customs sympathetic to them. Unfortunately, no such system exists at the international level. Child custody decisions are usually made according to the law of the country the child is in. If a parent takes a child from Illinois to another country, the issue of child custody will probably be made according to that country’s laws.

What happens if a parent abducts a child from Illinois to another country? The other parent should strongly consider getting legal representation immediately. The lawyer may be able to help with notifying the authorities in the other country and with getting legal representation in that country.

Many countries are signatory parties to the Hague Convention on International Child Abduction. If the other parent has taken the child to a signatory country, it could very well be possible to secure the child’s return. This may require political action as well as legal action.

If the other country is not a signatory party to the Hague Convention, it may be necessary to fight the case in the other country’s legal system. In this case, getting legal help early is a very good idea to try to safeguard the rights of the parent in the other country.