Attorney Bryce Neier of Fayetteville, North Carolina, focuses on family law, including property division, divorce, and child custody, particularly cases involving servicemen and -women at nearby Fort Bragg and Pope Air Force Base. Bryce Neier is also experienced in cases of international child abduction.
Many such cases fall under the jurisdiction of the Hague Convention on International Child Abduction, which went into force in 1980 and is honored by some 50 countries, including the United States. Abductions have risen in frequency because of increases in the divorce rate, international travel, and bicultural marriages.
This treaty presumes that the proper place for children to live is in their nation of “habitual residence.” Taking children from these locations presents many problems for them and for the parents who are left behind. The convention works to permit a timely return of children to nations where their interests are best served. Even if the children were born in America, their nation of habitual residence could be another country.
Limitations of the convention include a maximum period of one year for filing a lawsuit. Returns are prohibited when doing so would expose a child to a harmful situation or when a child is mature enough to object to the return. In addition, if the return would violate a country’s laws regarding human rights, it might not proceed.