The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction (the "Hague Convention") is a multilateral treaty. The signatory countries cooperate in returning children to their home country for custody proceedings. The United States assisted in drafting the Hague Convention and became a signatory in 1981. Hague Convention cases sometimes involve disputes over visitation rights, but more often these cases focus on returning a child whose parent has wrongfully removed the child from the home country or wrongfully retained the child in a foreign country. In return cases, the left-behind parent with custodial rights seeks the child's return to the country of habitual residence. Once the child is returned, the court in the child's home country can evaluate the underlying merits of the custody dispute.
We live in an increasingly mobile society, and many parents today are raising their children in a different city, state or country from where one or both of the parties grew up. When a marriage breaks down and divorce is imminent, there is sometimes concern that the other parent may leave the state or even the country with the child.