International Child Abduction Claims in Romania

International child abduction is regulated by the Hague Convention of 1980.
It is defined as the situation in which one parent wrongfully removes or retains a child in another country than its habitual state.
While it is often confused with a criminal case, it is simply a civil case. A mechanism that is provisioned to prevent parents from placing their interests above those of their children.

When Can International Child Abduction Occur

This type of case can occur whenever a child lives in one country and one of the parents, without a court order and/or the other parent’s consent, decides to remove the child from that country and relocate them to another one.
Even if the child is not wrongfully relocated, but one of the parents refuses to take the child back to its habitual country, the Convention applies.

What Can You Achieve with an International Child Abduction Claim

In such claims, the court can decide whether or not the child has to be returned to their habitual country.
The case is tried in a civil court so it will not be a criminal conviction. What you get is simply an enforceable court order. On the basis of this order, the child can be taken back to their habitual residence.
If the parent still refuses, they can be fined.

Can the Court Reject the Claim?

Yes, the court can reject an international child abduction claim. However, they can only reject it for very specific reasons.

These reasons are provisioned by art. 13 of the Hague Convention:

  • the person, institution or other body having the care of the person of the child was not actually exercising the custody rights at the time of removal or retention, or had consented to or subsequently acquiesced in the removal or retention; or
  • there is a grave risk that his or her return would expose the child to physical or psychological harm or otherwise place the child in an intolerable situation.

How To File an International Child Abduction Claim in Romania

If the child was relocated to or retained in Romania, you should understand how the Convention is applied here.
In this respect, Law no. 369/2004 provisions that such claims are subject to a two-grade jurisdiction.
The Bucharest Tribunal will try the case in the first court. If an appeal is promoted, the Bucharest Court of Appeal will try it.
The procedure can be started either directly in the Romanian courts by the parent making the claim, or it can be started before the authorities in the habitual state, which will then forward the case to Romanian courts. While the first option is faster, the second one can be better documented.

If you need more information about this subject, you can contact us at any time and we will be glad to answer any questions that you may have.