It was 11:00 pm East Coast time on a Sunday night when the phone rang. I said hello and addressed the caller by their first name. The parent said “I didn’t know who else to call.” The parent sounded relieved and not because I answered phone and called them by name. I remembered the circumstances of their last call, although it had been nearly a year since we had last spoken.
I get a lot of calls in the middle of the night. Calls aren’t limited to that time frame only. I also get calls as early as 4:00, 5:00 and 6:00 am during the week and weekends from across the country and internationally. This particular call I had been expecting. It was just a matter of when.
I had hoped I would be wrong. I always hope I’ll be wrong. It just doesn’t happen often. After 30 years of dealing with Family Law. 24 years as a law enforcement officer there isn’t too much I haven’t come to expect in Family Law. In and out of the courtroom.
The parent said their attorney didn’t see any risk. There was no reasons to put in special provisions in case of abduction. Even if a problem were to arise, the country involved was a Hague member, it would be a simple matter to retrieve the children. The Hague Treaty, for parents who don’t know, it is a treaty between some nations, not all, to return children to their country of origin if abducted.
I outlined the risk factors to the parent. The other parent traveled extensively during the summer for business. They had significant ties, employment and family outside the United States. They could easily relocate with minimum risk and maximum benefit, financially and otherwise. I explained that several specific levels of protection were needed and why.
The parent chose to accept the advice of their attorney in spite of their concerns/misgiving based on the assurances of their attorney. The parent was calling now because the children were missing, the police had been no help and their attorney although supportive had no idea how to proceed. Their attorney it seems had not worked a Hague case before. Clearly their attorney’s earlier advice was not based on experience or an expertise. Had the parent known that at the onset they clearly would have made a different decision.
Within hours, their court order had been read, verified and assessed. The parent had a contact number and significant name within the State Department. They had a list of information they needed to obtained from airlines and other persons/agencies. They had the name of an attorney in the other country with Hague experience, as well as the support of other persons, who could provide aid. Within 36 hours the necessary documents could be filed in the other country.
The key to success is often times based on who files first. And filing the correct paperwork to minimize costs, legal arguments and return of the children in the most expedient manner.
Just to be clear the Hague Treaty is only effective in approximately 27% of cases. That means the Treaty has a failure rate of 73%. Are you willing to gamble your future with your children with those odds!
This parent received help when they needed it most because in the middle of the night they could reach someone knowledgeable and qualified to obtain assistance using a network of resources built over 30 years experience dealing with Family Law. What telephone numbers do you have available to you?
To learn more go to CustodyCalculations.com or call for a free consultation on your specific circumstances and case call 702-675-5120.