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Hague International Child Abduction Trial Requirements And Defenses In San Diego Superior Court: 2015


The standard procedure is that the San Diego District Attorney’s Office [Child Abduction Unit] will be contacted by the Federal Government that an abduction has occurred from a foreign country and that a Petition should be filed. The San Diego District Attorney’s Office does not represent either party listed in the pleadings as the Petitioner and Respondent. The Petitioner is the parent who is seeking the return of the child or children. The Respondent is the parent who abducted the children. The San Diego District Attorney’s Office will contact the Respondent and inform them that the Petition is being filed [or had been filed] in San Diego Superior Court and give a copy to both parents which will have a court date. The SD DA office also monitors the Respondent to insure that the children or child remain in San Diego pending the hearing. At the trial, both parties have the opportunity to testify and also to present evidence and expert witnesses. The Judge will then decide whether to grant or deny the Petition.


The requirements for a Hague case in San Diego Superior Court are as followed and in summary format and not comprehensive. International child abduction cases are very complicated and are governed by Treaty between countries. The first requirement will be that the United States and the other country are both signatories to the Hague. The child or children need to be in San Diego for filing in San Diego Superior Court. The removal by the Respondent must be wrongful and in breach of custody rights of an institution or person under the laws of the Country where the child or children were habitual residents before the taking. The proceedings must be commenced within one year of the wrongful retention or removal.


The law in California for custody and visitation is the “best interests”. This includes stability, bonding, frequent and continuing contact and many others. The law in California does not apply for a Hague Petition even though the case in heard in San Diego Court. As such, best interests are not applicable to contest a Hague proceeding. The standard defenses include the following:

  • Well Settled
  • Consent/Acquiescence
  • Grave Risk Of Harm
  • Older Than 16 Years Of Age
  • More Than One Year Since Abduction
  • Intolerable Situation
  • Returning Child Or Children Would Violate Public Policy
  • Mature Child Objection

This is an organization which can help with resources and information. For example, in collaboration with others, they have a Hague Litigation Manual which is extremely informative and useful for trial. In addition, they can assist in helping recover children and can be contacted if you have an international [or national] child abduction case pending. For your use, their website is below.

www.missingkids.orgHOW CAN A SAN DIEGO LAW FIRM HELP?

The law firm of Doppelt and Forney, APLC can represent you in San Diego Superior Court for your pending Hague Return Petition. These are extremely complicated and difficult cases and many attorneys do not handle Hague cases and it is important to use an attorney which had represented Hague clients in their Petition. The firm offers a complimentary and confidential consultation up to 30 minutes and can discuss with you your individual Hague Petition.

Client Reviews
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