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International kidnapping how to get my son back to USA

Greenville, NC |

I have full custody in USA, ex has full custody in UAE, he's Indian nationality and I'm american.

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Attorney answers 3


This depends: it sounds like the child is in the UAE? The UAE is a notoriously difficult place to get a child back from, which depends largely on the parties involved.

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Where there is no custodial order, it is generally the case that the nation or jurisdiction where the child has lived for the past six months (so long as there was no abduction to such nation) would be recognised as being the place) which has the legal jurisdiction or authority to determine custody. This would require consideration as to where the jurisdiction properly lies. Once this is determined then you know whose laws govern. That does not necessarily equate to knowing which parent may succeed in a custodial determination. The caveat here is whether the UAE and USA will respect each other's orders, etc., if it is determined that the other nation's laws will be looked at in determining custody as between the parents.

Todd Matthew Heine

Todd Matthew Heine


Good points, Kevin. In general, if the child is in the UAE with a parent, the UAE courts typically put little stock in a US court order, regardless of whether a US court claims jurisdiction is (e.g., the six-month provision in the UCCJEA). In fact, most other nations use a fact-specific determination (i.e., the cavernous "all the facts in the case" standard) instead of a bright line, temporal standard (see my journal article below--if you need something to put you to sleep at night!). In other words, the six-month standard all but goes out the window in these non-Hague international custody situations: Unlike countries that are conforming members of the Hague Abduction Convention, getting a child back from a country like the UAE will in practice turn solely on the custodial determination in most (every?) case. It is an agonizing situation for the left-behind parent. So you are right as the caveat applies in this situation: Most UAE courts would pay little attention to a US-based custody determination. If the child is still in the US, then the six-month UCCJEA standard may have some practical effect.


You characterize the issue as a "kidnapping" - and if that is the case, it is a federal crime under the International Parental Kidnapping Crime Act (18 USC 1204). Please get off AVVO and contact the Federal Bureau of Investigations at 1017 WH Smith Blvd Greenville, NC 27834
(704) 672-6100.

If it more of a custody dispute, the United Arab Emirates is not a signatory to the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction (Hague Abduction Convention), nor are there any bilateral agreements in force between the United Arab Emirates and the United States concerning international parental child abduction.

You need to contact the NC Department of Public Safety and file a report. After that, contact the Department of State at:

United States Department of State
Bureau of Consular Affairs
Office of Children’s Issues
2201 C Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20520
Telephone: 1-888-407-4747

This should not be construed as advice, only information and I recommend for any additional questions you seek the advice of experienced immigration legal counsel. The posting of a response in no way infers client - attorney relationship has been established.

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