Kidnapping Attorney Helping Parents Recover Their Children From Israel
It is the worst fear of any parent embroiled in a custody battle: the other parent takes the child to a foreign country and refuses to return them. You may feel helpless, distraught, and uncertain about what to do next. Navigating the legal system of an unfamiliar country can seem like an impossible task. However, you don’t have to do it alone.
Hait Family Law is here to help you seek your child’s return from Israel. Attorney Jay Hait has assisted numerous families with Hague cases to recover their kidnapped children. He understands the fear and confusion parents feel when faced with the potential loss of their child, and he aims to simplify the complex Israeli family law process so that his clients understand the steps they can take to reunite their family.
Your family is of the utmost importance to our firm, and we will take every action necessary to help you reach a positive outcome. But prompt action is key to the success of your case. If you even suspect that your child may have been kidnapped to Israel, contact Hait Law Firm immediately to discuss your legal options: (077) 200 8161.
What Are the Most Common Examples of Kidnapping Encountered in Israel?
When people hear the word “kidnapping,” their thoughts often leap to the dramatized situations on movies and TV shows where strangers steal children and hold them for ransom. While this can happen in the real world, the most common kidnapping cases we see in Israel are much less dramatic, but no less heartbreaking. In the majority of kidnapping cases we encounter, the child has been taken by a parent or other relative to live in Israel, or the parent refuses to return the child after they have come here on a visit. A child may not even realize they have been kidnapped because they are with family, and their life seems normal. However, for the parent in the other country desperately trying to get their child back, it can be a nightmare.
Why do parents kidnap their own children? Sometimes, they are facing a divorce and a custody battle, and they choose to take the child outside of the country to avoid losing custody or paying child support. In some cases, parents may have disagreements over where and how their children should be raised. Some Jewish parents believe living in Israel is in their child’s best interests. However, they do not have the right to unilaterally make that decision against the other parent’s wishes. Regardless of the reasons, international kidnapping by a parent or other family member is a serious offense and must be handled promptly.
What is the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction?
On the 25th of October, 1980, the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction was ratified. This treaty created a civil law mechanism for parents looking to recover children unlawfully taken to another treaty partner country. Under this treaty, these children are to be promptly returned, and if there is a custody dispute, it must be resolved in the country to which they are returned. The Hague Convention of 1980 does not make recommendations on custody decisions; it is only concerned with creating a legal pathway for parents to retrieve their kidnapped children from other countries.
A critical aspect of the Hague Abduction Convention to note is that it defines a “child” as an individual under the age of 16, which is younger than the age of adulthood in some countries, such as the US. Even if the kidnapping occurred before the child turned 16, the Convention no longer applies once the child turns 16, and other legal remedies must be sought. The court also takes older children’s wishes into account to some extent when determining if they should be returned.
What is the Process for Filing an International Kidnapping Claim?
Because Israel is a signatory to the Hague Convention, parents from other member countries can seek a return pursuant to the Convention if they believe their child has been wrongfully removed to Israel. If your child has been kidnapped to Israel, there are steps you should take promptly to begin the process of getting them returned:
- Retain legal counsel within Israel: An Israeli kidnapping lawyer can start the process of filing your case with the proper authorities within the country to get your child returned. There is a strict process for handling these cases, and you should seek out a law firm with experience in Hague cases to ensure you have the best possible chance of getting your children back.
- Report the incident to the US State Department: You must inform the State Department (or your own country’s Central Authority for Hague cases, if you are not a US citizen) of the issue by filing a Hague complaint.
What Are the Time Limits on Filing a Hague Convention Kidnapping Case?
Overall, a Hague case must be filed within twelve months of the child’s retention or removal by the other party. But realistically, the chances of reaching a successful conclusion in your case begin to decrease significantly after three to six months. This is because Hague courts tend to view your extended period of inaction as an indication that you implicitly agreed to the child living in the other country. Beginning the process as soon as possible increases the odds of the court ordering the immediate return of your child. It is still worthwhile to file a Hague case after six months, but it can be a lengthy legal process, and you and your lawyer must be prepared to fight hard to convince the court that your child has been wrongfully removed.
How Does the Court Determine if a Child Has Been Kidnapped?
Hague cases are fact-based, and you must prove to the court that you have a right to custody over the child in question. When deciding on a case, the court will consider many questions, including:
- Where was the last location both parents agreed on for the child’s residence?
- Where is the child’s permanent residence?
- Who holds the rights protected by the Convention?
- What are the grounds for claiming a wrongful removal or retention?
- Is there a valid custody order?
- Has there been a breach of one parent’s custody rights?
It is essential to understand that Hague court proceedings are civil proceedings, not criminal proceedings. The court cannot extradite the parent accused of kidnapping to another country. The goal of filing a Hague case is to have your kidnapped child returned to you. There are no legal consequences for the other parent at the conclusion of the case, aside from the potential requirement to relinquish custody of the child.
What Challenges Do You Face During a Hague Case in Israel if You Do Not Speak Hebrew?
Most parents who file a Hague case in Israel are not native Hebrew speakers and may not understand the language at all. This can put the parent at a disadvantage during court proceedings because they will be conducted in Hebrew. The language skills of your lawyer and interpreters will be crucial to the outcome of your case. It is highly recommended to seek out a lawyer who is a native English speaker. Their fluency will allow for ease of communication. They will be able to explain the process to you clearly and will be able to answer any questions you may have.
Another aspect of Hague cases in Israel is that every document that you submit to the court must be professionally translated into Hebrew first. It is critical to seek out a high-quality translator for your records and testimony who can correctly translate not just your words but the nuances and emotions of what you are saying. This can prevent any mistakes or misunderstandings. Hait Family Law has extensive experience assisting non-Hebrew-speaking families in navigating their Hague cases. We can provide the competent legal assistance you need to confidently handle this stressful process.
Is There a Legal Way to Take Your Kids With You to Another Country After a Divorce?
Many individuals, especially women, come to Israel to marry an Israeli citizen. However, if it does not work out and they get a divorce, they may find themselves lacking a support system and missing their own family. Or they may meet a new spouse from another country and wish to move there. In many situations, a divorced wife could have custody of her young children because courts often prefer placing children under six with the mother. So a common question is: when is it legal for a divorced parent to move their children to another country?
Israeli law does allow divorced parents to move their children to another country under some circumstances. However, it must be stressed that you cannot take the child out of the country without getting the court’s approval. Failing to get proper authorization before you leave can have severe legal consequences.
Moving a child to a new country requires modifying your divorce agreement or divorce judgment, and your child support payments will likely be adjusted. When deciding on whether a child can be moved out of the country, the court will consider many factors, including:
- Your economic status
- Current living situation and the proposed living situation in the new country
- The impact of the move on the child
- The wishes of the other parent
- The child’s wishes, if they are old enough to articulate them
If you are considering petitioning the court to allow you to take your children to another country, our legal team can help you with the process and explain all the facts you need to know, so you do not unintentionally violate the law.
Why Hire a Kidnapping Lawyer in Israel?
Your children are precious to you, and having them taken a continent away without your consent is an unimaginably difficult situation. The Hague Convention provides parents with a legal means to recover their abducted children. However, it can be next to impossible for a parent to navigate the legal requirements on their own, especially when the court proceedings are conducted in another country in an unfamiliar language. An Israel-based lawyer can serve as your representative in these complex cases and ensure your parental rights are upheld.
Hait Family Law is here to serve all your legal needs and will fight to help you regain rightful custody of your child and return them to their home country. Time is of the essence in these situations, so do not hesitate to reach out. Contact our law firm through e-mail or call today to schedule a complimentary case evaluation: (077) 200 8161.
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