Thursday, March 01, 2007

International Child Abduction legitimised by Nebraska Bill and violates The Hague Convention

US Nebraska Law Sanctions International Child Abduction

A new law passed in Nebraska authorises the seizure of jurisdiction to that state from a non-US country (in this case Canada) and was promulgated and signed into law in order to block court ordered visitation to a Canadian father.

The US mother of the child has alleged physical abuse and sexual molestation of the child by the father during visitation, however there have been no criminal filings and to date, no evidence except the mothers say so as far as I can see.

State Senator DiAnna Schimek of Lincoln, Nebraska sponsored Bill 341 and it was signed into law by Governor Dave Heineman a week or so ago after passing the State Legislator 48-0.

The Canadian courts hold jurisdiction and continue to order visitation but Nebraska by this law has seized jurisdiction and is holding hearings on the allegations while blocking visitation.

International treaties such as The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction and virtually every state in the US (including Nebraska) have laws that state a court where the child was living when custody proceedings are filed retains jurisdiction and only in "extraordinary" circumstances can measures be taken by courts outside that country.

This appears to be yet another violation of The Hague Convention on The Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction by the US, who seem to take a buffet approach to the treaty and enforce only those aspects of it that they wish to but ignore their obligations in others - typically when it benefits an abducting US parent in the United States.

In this instance a Nebraskan judge has blocked the father from visitation pending a hearing on an emergency basis and now the US will assume jurisdiction over the child after the abuse hearings are complete in complete violation of the international treaties and the US UCCJEA.

Whatever the merit of the allegations against the father, it is only in exceptional circumstances that jurisdiction of the original court can be usurped by a foreign court - in this instance there is nothing extraordinary, indeed the Nebraskan court is acting on an "emergency" basis. This is unjust US State sanctioned abduction and abrogation of an international treaty that appears to have been railroaded through the Nebraskan Senate.

I find this very disturbing, perhaps it is time for a revamp of the Hague Convention so it says it applies only when the US says so and not to their own - I wonder if the federal system will intervene in this particular matter, that will be very interesting as will the reaction of the Canadians.

When will the US learn that this type of behaviour makes it much more difficult for the hundreds of US parents coming to foreign countries asking for children to be returned - after all an American judge does not hear these cases but a foreign one.

Talk about shooting yourself in the foot.

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