The Hague Convention of 25 October 1980 on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction is a multilateral treaty, which seeks to protect children wrongfully removed from his or her habitual residence by providing a simplified procedure to bring about their prompt return. The Convention is actually intended to prevent one parent from gaining an unfair advantage in a custody dispute by taking a child from one country to another country in order to invoke that other country’s jurisdiction.

The Convention applies only between those countries that have adopted it as "Contracting States”. So, if the child, for example, had his habitual residence in Qatar and the parent removes the child in a country which has adopted the Convention, the Convention shall not apply as Qatar is not a party under the Convention.

To invoke the Hague Convention’s remedy of return, the petitioning parent must establish that the child’s abduction was wrongful. The Article 3 of the Convention describes when the removal or retention is to be wrongful: 1) the child had a habitual residence in the country from which the child was abducted; 2) the petitioning parent had either sole or joint rights of custody of the child either through a custody order or by law; 3) at the time of removal or retention those rights were actually exercised by the petitioning parent.

The petitioning parent must establish that the child was wrongfully removed or retained from the country of the child’s habitual residence violating the petitioning parent’s custody rights, so that he could apply under the Convention the prompt return of the child to the country of his or her habitual residence.

The Convention applies when the child attains the age of 16. Even if the child is under the age of 16 at the time of the wrongful removal or retention, if the child has reached 16 when the return is requested, the Convention does not require the child’s return.

Bulgaria is also a Contracting party under the Hague convention since 2003.

Our law firm has a legal experience in conducting before the Bulgarian courts and other athorities (Ministry of justice, etc.) of different kinds of legal cases with internatonal element, including custodity, determination of temporary measures, determining of regime of personal contacts with the parents who is not living with the children as well as representation before the European court of human rights in case when there is a violation of human rights

Prepared by "Valova and Angelova law" firm