International child kidnapping and the Hague Convention

Mens divorce lawyerQuestion:

My wife, who is a Native American, has moved with our child to another country without my consent. I currently have a Hague Convention access case pending in an attempt to get access to my son.

How can I get my child returned? Is my child’s tribal heritage a factor?


When a child is involved in an international parental kidnapping dispute, there are several different avenues for the non-offending parent to pursue.

First, you should consider the Federal Parental Kidnapping and Prevention Act.  This Act was specifically written for matters where one parent removes a child from the United States and brings that child to another country to reside without consent of the other parent.

Secondly, you should look to the Hague Convention for guidance. I understand that you have already pursued this avenue and that you are waiting for a decision regarding your Access Motion.

Another legal battle you may face in the future is the issue of how to handle your custody dispute since your son’s mother is Native American. In the United States, when a child custody matter involves a child with tribal heritage, you must consider the Indian Child Welfare Act before a visitation schedule can be drafted.

Based upon the limited facts that you have provided to me, I believe that you have started the correct process to return your child to you. Nevertheless, I understand that due to the cost and time involved, it is challenging to deal with international legal matters on your own. I urge you to contact an attorney that handles international child custody disputes immediately to ensure that your interests remain protected.

Cordell & Cordell has well qualified and experienced men’s divorce lawyers located nationwide, including many in Missouri, if you require additional legal assistance.


Michelle Hughes is an Associate Attorney in the Jefferson County, Missouri office of Cordell & Cordell where she practices domestic relations exclusively. Ms. Hughes is licensed in the states of Missouri and Illinois, and the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri. A native to metro St. Louis, Ms. Hughes received her BBA in Economics and Finances from McKendree College. She later received her Juris Doctor from Thomas Cooley Law School where she graduated cum laude.

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