CHILD ABDUCTION : The 1980 Hague Convention and the Judgment of Solomon

The oldest known judgment, that of King Solomon, attempts to cut through a dispute over abduction of an infant without cutting the child in half. The solution comes from the act of motherly love which gives the child’ s interest priority over her wishes. This issue con­tinues to concern us today.

International « abductions » of children are perceived as a modern form of this ancient tragedy. At the same time, however, having roots in several countries and belonging to several cultures is seen as an asset for a child. The termination of the marriage of a binational couple can lead to deplorable but familiar results: papa does not see the children, therefore mommy receives no support. The children, torn apart, pay the price of this absolute separation. Abduction by one parent adds drama, even violence, to the tragedy.

In one generation, French and U.S. family law codes have evolved considerably, dramatizing the rapid de-mise of the married couple. The « divorce » (whether the parents be married or not) effects the « parental couple; » but the parental couple may continue to survive. At least it may be hoped!

Nevertheless, despite a facade of « reasonable » rules; the human drama which underlies man of these situ­ations can break out in a tempest.

The Hague Convention of October 25, 1980 makes an important step forward in eliminating the advantage of the de facto change of the status quo by child abduction. A parent gains no practical advantage through abduction, if the child is returned for a hearing before a judge in the place of the child’ s « habitual residence. » Thus, by offering a quasi-automatic solution, the Hague Convention seeks to avoid the temptation ofkidnapping. Instead, it gives a judicial advantage to the other parent.

residence and the country of refuge, the new Solomons, are learning to resolve theTo avoid the child being sliced in half, judges of both the country of habitual residence and the country of refuge, the new Solomons, are learning to resolve the litigation without cutting the child off from its binational parents and roots.



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