Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction

Federal law prohibits a parent from removing a child from the United States or retaining a child in another country with intent to obstruct another parent´s custodial rights. This crime is known as international parental kidnapping. Convicted offenders of this crime can face up to three years of imprisonment.

Every year, situations of international parental kidnapping are reported in the United States. It is common for the removal of a child to occur during a heated or emotional marital dispute, in the early stages of separation or divorce, or in the waiting period for a court custody order or agreement.

Child victims of international parental kidnapping are often taken from a familiar environment and suddenly isolated from their community, family, and friends. They may miss months or even years of schooling. The child may be moved to multiple locations in order to stay hidden or out of reach of the parent remaining in the United States. In some cases, the child´s name, birth date, and physical appearance are altered or concealed to hide identity. Kidnapped children are at high risk for long-term psychological problems.

Under federal law, prosecutors investigate and prosecute the parent who kidnapped the child.

The return of kidnapped children is either settled through negotiation or litigation. Ms. Korgul-Esposito handled numerous cases where she coordinated negotiations through the U.S. Department of State and foreign officials and law enforcement agencies to effectuate the return of children to their country of origin. She also litigated numerous cases under the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Parental Child Abduction (1980) and successfully returned children to their legal guardians.