International family law disputes between Australia and Greece

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It is estimated that each week two or three children are illegally removed from Australia by one of their parents. Nicholes Family Lawyers give insight on the matter

Australia’s multicultural diversity within an ever increasing global community means that it is not uncommon for one or more parents of a child to have connections to a country other than Australia.

The issue of international child abduction by a parent has recently received media attention within Australia. It is estimated that each week two or three children are illegally removed from Australia by one of their parents.

The 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction is a multilateral treaty in force between Australia and a number of other countries. It stands as the main international agreement that covers international parental child abduction; the the main legal process available to parents if a child has been abducted to a country which is a signatory to the Convention.

Australia ratified the Hague Convention in 1986 and Greece ratified it in 1992. There are currently 98 states party to the Convention.

In order for a parent to make an application for the return of a child to Australia under the Hague Convention, the child must be under the age of 16 years and have been ‘habitually resident’ in Australia immediately before their removal or retention in another Hague Convention signatory country. The parent seeking the child’s return must also prove that they had rights of custody for the child under Australian law immediately before the child was removed or retained from Australia.

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