Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Custody battles over children, the Sean Goldman case, and Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction

I have written several posts on the issue of custody battles over children, namely, (1) Can a mother be deprived of custody of her child?; (2) Custody battles over children between grandparents and a father or mother; and (3) Custody battles over children: what determines fitness of a parent over another?. These posts dealt with situations where the child or children were taken by one parent against the wishes of the other to another place within the Philippines. I discussed in these posts Supreme Court decisions based on the provisions of the Family Code.

When a child however is taken out of one country and transferred to another country by one parent without the consent of the other, the primary law that needs to be considered is the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. This convention is now the focus in the long-running, internationally-publicized case of Sean Goldman. For more information on this case from the point of view of David (the father), you can surf to the “Bring Sean Home Foundation” website. David has insisted that the issue is not custody but abduction. Even President Barack Obama and the US Congress have gotten into the picture.

As of this date, the Philippines is not a signatory to this convention. There are reportedly more than a dozen cases of children, primarily from California, who have been brought by one parent against the will of the other to the Philippines. Since the Philippines is not a signatory to this convention, the provisions of the Family Code and Supreme Court decisions will be the basis for deciding the issues of custody, visitation, etc. Philippine courts are not bound by foreign laws and court judgments, and evidence of these laws and judgments must be submitted to the courts for their consideration.





No comments :