Hague Convention FAQ`s
WHAT IS THE HAGUE CONVENTION ON THE CIVIL ASPECTS OF INTERNATIONAL CHILD ABDUCTION?
The Hague Convention on Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction (“the Hague Convention”) is an international treaty that provides for the return of a child who has been ‘abducted’ by one parent and taken to another jurisdiction in order to prevent access by the left-behind parent.
WHEN WILL THE HAGUE CONVENTION APPLY?
The Hague Convention will apply when a child has been wrongfully removed or retained outside of the jurisdiction where the child is habitually resident by one parent in breach of the custody rights of the left-behind parent.
WHERE DOES THE HAGUE CONVENTION APPLY?
The Hague Convention only applies in signatory nations. There are currently 97 signatory nations including Singapore, the United Kingdom, Japan, Australia, the United States, China and the Philippines.
WILL THE HAGUE CONVENTION APPLY IF MY CHILD IS TAKEN OUT OF SINGAPORE?
If your child is habitually resident in Singapore, you should be careful about removing your child from Singapore without the other parent’s consent.
If you have gone through, are going through, or intend to go through divorce proceedings, you should not take your child out of Singapore without first seeking permission from the Family Justice Courts.
There are two possible scenarios:
1. There are no custody orders concerning the child
Prior to or in the course of divorce proceedings, there may be no formal custody orders in place concerning your child. Both parents have custody rights to your child under Singapore law.
If your child has been removed from Singapore and there is no custody order in place, you should do the following:
- First, seek an interim order for custody, care and control of your child;
- of the signatory nations to have your child returned to Singapore.
The Court will take into consideration the fact that your child was removed from Singapore without the consent of the left-behind parent when determining who should have custody, care and control of your child.
2. There is a custody order in place for the child
If there is an order for custody or care and control of your child, your child must not be taken out of Singapore without the written consent of both parents or the leave of court.
However, you are permitted to take your child out of Singapore for trips or vacation if it is less than one (1) month.
WHAT SHOULD I DO IF MY CHILD IS WRONGFULLY REMOVED OR RETAINED OUTSIDE OF SINGAPORE?
You can apply to the Family Justice Courts in Singapore International Child Abduction Act (“the ICAA”) for a declaration that the removal or retention outside of Singapore was wrongful.
You can use this declaration to apply for the return of the child under the Hague Convention in the signatory nation where the child was taken. The return of the child will be ordered in accordance with the laws of the signatory nation.
HOW CAN I ENFORCE THE HAGUE CONVENTION IN SINGAPORE TO HAVE MY CHILD RETURNED TO HIS HOME COUNTRY?
If your child is brought to Singapore in violation of a custody order in a signatory nation, you can enforce the custody order under the Hague Convention by applying to the Family Justice Courts under the ICAA. The Courts will order that the child should be returned to the signatory nation.