International Child Abduction:
Execution of return decision
The Convention also obligates the countries to assure that after the court has decided a child must return, the child will indeed be returned.
The court decision will tell on wich day the child must be returned or handed over to the other parent. Most of the time this is on a date two weeks after the decision. If within that period the parent appeals, this means that he or she can wait for the appeal decision without returning the child yet.
Whether the court will give the abducting parent the change to return the child him or herself will depend on the facts of the case, but also on the requests that were done by the other parent. Therefore the requests in the return procedure most be carefully chosen. If the child returns with the abducting parent, and then lives with this parent, the other parent still needs a visitation agreement or court decision on visitation in the home state to see the child. If the child has to be handed over to the other parent, the abducting parent has to make sure to get a visitation arrangement.
The court decision will tell whether the child shall be returned to the country or to a specific place.
The Dutch court will not mention any ‘safe return’ provisions in the court decision, unlike some other countries such as the UK.
There is no such thing withing the Hague Convetion as a preliminary return decision.
If during the procedure for the Dutch court, the court thinks that there is a chance that the parent will not cooperate with visits to the child by the other parent during the next weeks until the court decision, or if the court thinks that the parent might not be willing to execute the return decision, the court can give the costudy over the child temporarily to a Dutch child protection organisation. If necessary this organisation can decide to take the child out of the house where the child is living, to ensure a return if that will be the court’s decision.
The Hague Convention obliges the States to take all measures to prepare the minor for the orderly enforcement of the court decision. This can be difficult if the abducting parent is not cooperating and there is a risk of the child being abducted again or simply dissapear.
If the abducting parent is not cooperating with the return of the child,
The Dutch law gives several options to put pressure on the abducting parent, such as assistance of the police, penalties, or taking the abducting parent in custody.
It is important to think about the enforcement of the return decision and the problems that might arise before filing the return request. Please contact our firm if you wish to consult us on this subject.