New Michigan Law Protects Against International Custodial Child Abduction
Newly enacted legislation may have a significant impact on child custody within Michigan and even around the world.
On January 9, 2013, Michigan enacted Public Act 600 of 2012, which amended the Michigan Child Custody Act (MCL 722.27a), preventing a parent involved in a custody dispute, or whose parenting time or child custody is governed by court order, from taking the child to any country outside the jurisdiction of the Hague Convention unless the travel is agreed to by both parents and the Court.
The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction was established to ensure that the child custody arrangement existing prior to the wrongful removal of a child to a foreign country is enforced. Children removed to countries that are not a party to the Convention are often never returned and the parent whose custody rights have been disregarded has no recourse.
In Michigan, child custody is determined by an examination of a child’s best interests based on a number of factors relating to the abilities of the parents. When the parents cannot agree on what arrangement is in the child’s best interests, the decision is left to the Court. It is during such disputes that children are at the highest risk of being removed from one parent and to a foreign country. The new law is intended to provide protection to children in such situations.