Hague Convention FAQ`s
What if my spouse “kidnaps” our child to another country?
The biggest nightmare of any parent going through a divorce is the possibility of never seeing his or her child again. Even worse, when you wake up the next day or return home from work only to find out that your spouse and the child have left the country without your knowledge and/or consent.
What can you do then?
One option is for you to apply to the Central Authority of Singapore (CAS) for assistance. The CAS will help to facilitate the voluntary return of the child who has been wrongfully removed without your consent and to liaise with other Central Authorities on your application.
CAS is not able to assist if there are legal proceedings underway or if Singapore does not have a contracting relationship with that country under the Hague Convention of the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction.
If CAS refuses to accept your application for whatsoever reason or CAS is not able to facilitate the return of your child, then you are at liberty to make an application to the Family Justice Courts under the International Child Abduction Act (Cap 143C (“ICAA”)).
Which country has a contracting relationship with Singapore?
There are 62 countries that have a contracting relationship with Singapore such as the United States of America (USA), Australia, Japan, Germany, France, Romania and Hong Kong, to name a few.
Can I apply under the Convention if the country has a contracting relationship with Singapore?
Yes, you can apply under the ICAA if:
- your child is under 16 years old; and
- your child was habitually resident in a Contracting State immediately before any breach of custody or access rights.
How do I determine the habitual residence of my child?
This is to be assessed with reference to the date on which the allegedly wrongful retention (or removal) of your child is said to have taken place. This is because the place of habitual residence can change over time and particularly, where divorce proceedings in court take place, a different result may ensue depending on which date is taken to be the date of wrongful retention.
The test for determining habitual residence is highlighted in the case of TUC v TUD  SGHCF 12 at . It requires the Court to look at a range of factors:
- the degree to which the child is settled or integrated in a country; and
- the intention of the parents as to whether the child is to reside in that country.
What do you do after you have an obtained an Order of Court in Singapore for the return of the child?
You must forward a copy of the Order of Court to the CAS within seven (7) days of the order being made. Thereafter, you will have to make an application for the custody, care and control of the child as the Hague Convention application does not resolve this issue.
If you require further information on this, we suggest that you contact one of our divorce lawyers to find out more about your legal rights.