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Offline ananddad

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Anand - USA to India.
« on: July 15, 2009, 06:30:16 PM »
All,

Tomorrow (July 16, 2009) would be exactly one year since I last saw my son. He was 3 years old at the time and was taken to India by his mother the next day in violation of US Court orders. We were pretty much done with our dissolution process by then. She was the custodial parent and I had visitation. At the trial, I had asked for restrictions on her international travel with our son but Court did not place these restrictions. Court's justification was a single sentence...'I do not think the mother is a person of bad faith who will abduct the child'.

It took me 4 months to get Courts to assign me as the custodial parent. We had to serve her by publication for 6 consecutive weeks before Courts could rule on it.

It has taken me another 5 months to sell the family home she abandoned. It is taking me another 2 months now to complete the Court ordered mediation/arbitration process regarding the proceeds from the sale.

I requested Department of State (DOS) to conduct a welfare visit in August 2008. So far, they have not done one. Nor have they been able to locate my son and his mother. They have suggested I hire a Private Detective to locate my son. Wonder what they would have done if a US Congressman was abducted in a foreign land!

Fairly soon, I will have to embark on the same tedious journey that David has been on for the past 5 years. I need to approach Indian Courts and request them to honor US Custody orders. On top of that, I also have to locate my son in India. Unlike Brazil, India is not a signatory to Hague Convention (not that Brazil's being one helped David). India does not have set law to handle these situations and Courts' decisions over the years have not followed a predictable pattern. India happens to be the second most popular destination (after Mexico) for parents abducting their children from USA.

I started contacting our elected officials in Sept 2008 and the responses have been mixed. One Senator's office has been responsive and followed up with DOS for a while. DOS did not tell them any more than they told me. The other Senator sent me a letter that started with 'Thank you for contacting my office about the issues you are having with your Naturalization application'. My Congressman's office ignored me initially. I have, about a month ago, contacted them again comparing him unfavorably with Rep. Smith who has been an advocate of David. They sent me a Privacy Waiver form and I need to send it in.

Being in the situation I am in, I think there is a lot the US Congress can do to ensure more parents do not end up in similar situations in the future:

1. Enforce strict exit requirements for minors being taken outside US. If a child is traveling with one parent, that parent should have notarized authorization from the other parent to travel with the child.

2. Ask for changes in Hague Convention to:
   
    a. remove the one year time limit
    b. not treat notarized authorization of the left behind parent as a permit
        for illegal retention in a foreign land
    c. remove language that gives Courts in destination countries to refuse
        return of children by citing 'best interests of the child' (the most
        abused five words in child custody matters all over the world)
    d. remove language about 'well settled in the new environment'. This
       clause is tantamount to rewarding parents for abducting and retaining
       children in a foreign land long enough to justify this.

A lot of people seem to think Hague Convention is perfect. If you read it thoroughly, you will notice a lot of caveats that can be (and have been) exploited by an abducting parent.

3. Do not let Courts overrule an objecting parent and permit the other parent to travel internationally with minors. Courts can decide how much time a child needs to spend with which parent. But as far as international travel is concerned, they should be respectfully asked to stay away.

4. Require DOS to publish quarterly reports. These reports should list the countries to which US children have been abducted, how many of them have been returned (voluntarily or through a foreign Court order) and what DOS has done for children still being retained in those countries. This report should give figures even for those countries that are not signatories to Hague Convention. Of the US Children with ties to other countries (through one or both of their parents), majority of them happen to have ties with countries like India, China, Russia and Japan which have not signed the treaty. These reports should be submitted to both houses of US Congress as well as Family Courts through out the US.

5. Someone talked about transferring these abduction cases from Department of State to Department of Justice. I do not think that is helpful. There is not much DOJ can do if the destination Country does not have an extradition treaty with US that covers International Parental Child Abduction. Most of the extradition treaties cover only those acts that are considered crimes under the jurisdictions of both countries. If a country does not consider International Parental Child Abduction as a crime, they will not extradite their citizens.

6. Trade sanctions. I know Rep.Smith has raised this in the Congress. There are not too many countries in the world that can afford to have sanctions placed on their trade with US. Though this can be a very effective measure, I am certain US businesses would seriously oppose any such bill.

A recent news article said international child abductions from US have increased by 35% from 2007 to 2008. One reason cited for the increase was the economic downturn in the US. I totally disagree with it. I think every abducting parent knows how easy it it abduct a child and to what great lengths a destination country goes to help them retain the child there. I seriously suspect there probably is a separate forum on the web where these abductors exchange ideas and tactics.

Thanks you to all of you (the forum participants) for being on our side.

--Anand's Dad.
"In the end, everything will be okay. If it's not okay, then you have not reached the end." -- Unknown.

Offline SageDad

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Re: Anand - USA to India.
« Reply #1 on: July 15, 2009, 07:33:26 PM »
Welcome to BSH.  I truly wish you all the success in the world at locating your son.  

Strange that you haven't found the State Department to be very effective in helping you get your son back...  They are ussually so helpful.. Perhaps it's because India has not signed the Hague Convention?  The DoS is great when dealing with countries that sign the Hague.  We should definitely leave them in charge of handling international abduction cases.  The US DOJ has too many conflicts of interest.  On the one hand they are charged with finding and prosecuting child abusers and domestic child abductors as well as international fugitives, but on the other hand.. well, perhaps there is no conflict of interest, but it would be a shame to move control of this responsibility away from an agency that handles it so well :rolleyes:

I knew that India wasn't a Hague signatory, but I certainly wasn't aware that they are the second largest destination of abducted children (where does this fact come from btw?).  If that's the case it should be pretty easy to convince judges to not allow unsupervised travel to India.  Actually I can't believe the family law judge didn't know that already.  All that information is right there.  It's so easily accessible...
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Offline ananddad

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Re: Anand - USA to India.
« Reply #2 on: July 15, 2009, 07:55:53 PM »
Carlos,

Here is the article from March 2008: http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/nn20080315a6.html. Go to the second last paragraph.

This speaks volumes about how truthful DoS is while quoting the numbers. They say Japan has 40 cases and is the third most popular destination. After Sean's case got the media attention, they said Brazil itself has more than 70 cases (did I get that number right?).
"In the end, everything will be okay. If it's not okay, then you have not reached the end." -- Unknown.

Offline SageDad

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Re: Anand - USA to India.
« Reply #3 on: July 15, 2009, 09:05:31 PM »
"The U.S. currently has 40 cases of international child abduction involving Japan, the third-largest after Mexico and India, said Kathleen Ruckman, deputy director of the U.S. State Department's Children's Issues Office."

Hmm.. That sounds off to me.. but if Kathleen Ruckman from the OCI said so it must be true.  :D We all know how honest the State Dept is with their numbers.  They'd never try to downplay the significance or volume of international child abduction :)


Edit:

Sometimes sarcasm doesn't come across very well with written words and since you're new here you probably aren't used to seeing me routinely criticize the OCI for calling international child abduction cases "custody disputes" and pretending the problem is smaller than it is.  They have a rather long and sordid history of being a dysfunctional institution that fails LBP's and abducted children.  As of 2009 Brazil has some 70+ American children.  In 2008 there was 50+.  Mexico has about 1000+ new abducted children per year, but all those numbers need to be taken with a grain of salt.  Real numbers are difficult to come by... there was a good discussion or article about just that not too long ago, but I wasn't able to find it after a quick search
« Last Edit: July 15, 2009, 09:16:31 PM by carlos »
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Offline tweinstein

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Re: Anand - USA to India.
« Reply #4 on: July 16, 2009, 09:11:17 AM »
Quote from: ananddad;42264
Being in the situation I am in, I think there is a lot the US Congress can do to ensure more parents do not end up in similar situations in the future:

1. Enforce strict exit requirements for minors being taken outside US. If a child is traveling with one parent, that parent should have notarized authorization from the other parent to travel with the child.
When I returned from Brazil this week, I confirmed with the agent at Homeland Security who greeted me that there is NO law to address this. You are correct that this is an urgent area of need.

Quote
2. Ask for changes in Hague Convention to:
   
    a. remove the one year time limit The intentions of the authors are clear. Unfortunately, some judges abuse this clause.
    b. not treat notarized authorization of the left behind parent as a permit
        for illegal retention in a foreign land I think that is just a strategy of JPLS. I think that most judges see right through it.
    c. remove language that gives Courts in destination countries to refuse
        return of children by citing 'best interests of the child' (the most
        abused five words in child custody matters all over the world) I agree that this needs to be defined more specifically
    d. remove language about 'well settled in the new environment'. This
       clause is tantamount to rewarding parents for abducting and retaining
       children in a foreign land long enough to justify this. The intentions of the authors was that this is ONLY relevant if the LBP waits for than one year to file their return petition. This is another clause that is unfortunately being abused by judges.

A lot of people seem to think Hague Convention is perfect. If you read it thoroughly, you will notice a lot of caveats that can be (and have been) exploited by an abducting parent.

3. Do not let Courts overrule an objecting parent and permit the other parent to travel internationally with minors. Courts can decide how much time a child needs to spend with which parent. But as far as international travel is concerned, they should be respectfully asked to stay away.

4. Require DOS to publish quarterly reports. These reports should list the countries to which US children have been abducted, how many of them have been returned (voluntarily or through a foreign Court order) and what DOS has done for children still being retained in those countries. This report should give figures even for those countries that are not signatories to Hague Convention. Of the US Children with ties to other countries (through one or both of their parents), majority of them happen to have ties with countries like India, China, Russia and Japan which have not signed the treaty. You just named three of the 4 BRIC countries (with Brazil being the 4th). For those who are unaware, the BRIC countries are supposed to be the next generation of economic superpowers in the world. These reports should be submitted to both houses of US Congress as well as Family Courts through out the US. Quarterly reports would strain the already meager resources. I agree that much more information should be divulged in the reports.

5. Someone talked about transferring these abduction cases from Department of State to Department of Justice. I do not think that is helpful. There is not much DOJ can do if the destination Country does not have an extradition treaty with US that covers International Parental Child Abduction. Most of the extradition treaties cover only those acts that are considered crimes under the jurisdictions of both countries. If a country does not consider International Parental Child Abduction as a crime, they will not extradite their citizens. True. This is called the PARENT Act written by Larry Synclair. The primary motivation is that the DOJ is not concerned about diplomacy as the DOS is.

6. Trade sanctions. I know Rep.Smith has raised this in the Congress. There are not too many countries in the world that can afford to have sanctions placed on their trade with US. Though this can be a very effective measure, I am certain US businesses would seriously oppose any such bill. Agreed. What we really need is to get multi-national cooperation on this. We have people in this forum from 5 countries (US, UK, Australia, France, Canada). If we could get just one of them to join the US, it would mean a lot.

 I seriously suspect there probably is a separate forum on the web where these abductors exchange ideas and tactics. I think they act alone.

Thanks you to all of you (the forum participants) for being on our side.

--Anand's Dad.

Offline SageDad

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Re: Anand - USA to India.
« Reply #5 on: July 16, 2009, 01:47:58 PM »
Quote from: tweinstein;42367
Quarterly reports would strain the already meager resources. I agree that much more information should be divulged in the reports.


One of greatest lies the State Dept ever told was convincing the world that their failures were the result of non-existant resources.  Congressional hearings in the 90's gave them ample financial resources to perform their duties.  A subsequent study by the Government Accounting Office to see where that was money was going showed that there was no real accounting of what was being spent where and called the OCI a dysfunctional office.  The failures of the State Dept do not reflect a lack of resources they reflect a lack of will and desire.
“What you seek is seeking you.”
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Offline forthelost

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Re: Anand - USA to India.
« Reply #6 on: July 16, 2009, 04:47:44 PM »
Quote from: tweinstein;42367
When I returned from Brazil this week, I confirmed with the agent at Homeland Security who greeted me that there is NO law to address this. You are correct that this is an urgent area of need.

The first time I ever heard this law suggested was in a book written in 1981! (I hadn't even been born yet, to give you an idea of how long this need has been pointed out.) I'm wondering if there's some way to petition for such a law.

I've seen several abductions to India, but didn't realize it was this popular.

Offline vipermann1

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Re: Anand - USA to India.
« Reply #7 on: July 23, 2009, 06:46:51 PM »
Dear Anand's Dad,
 
I am very sorry to hear about your situation.
I truely understand and fell your sadness and pain.
 
I am Uzy Malik, and my ex-wife took my daughter to Pakistan.
Here is a link to the story below.
 
http://bringseanhome.org/forum/showthread.php?t=1639
 
Fell free to PM me and I will give you some good honest advise.
 
Thanks,
UZY
e-mail: vipermann1(at)yahoo.com
« Last Edit: July 23, 2009, 11:05:37 PM by tweinstein »

Offline SageDad

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Re: Anand - USA to India.
« Reply #8 on: August 07, 2009, 11:03:32 PM »
I'm guessing you've already seen this, but I thought I'd post it in case you hadn't.  It is a petition for the "Indian Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction Bill 2007" which, if I understood correctly, is similiar to ICARA in the US.

http://mynation.net/custody/
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Offline ananddad

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Re: Anand - USA to India.
« Reply #9 on: August 08, 2009, 07:22:17 PM »
Quote from: carlos;44813
I'm guessing you've already seen this, but I thought I'd post it in case you hadn't. It is a petition for the "Indian Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction Bill 2007" which, if I understood correctly, is similiar to ICARA in the US.
 
http://mynation.net/custody/
I saw this but could not find the draft of this anywhere on the web. The URL in the article points to some website of Trinidad & Tobago Parliament. Talk of signing the convention has been ongoing for the past 4/5 years. Various members of the juduciary have been speaking in support of the convention in public fora. At last, the Law Commission of India had issued a report recommending that India sign on: http://lawcommissionofindia.nic.in/reports/report218.pdf. Ironically, Law Commission submitted this report to a sitting duck Law Minister one month prior to national elections. Though the same party came into power in the elections, we now have a new Minister of Law and there is no telling if and when they will act on the recommendation. Parliament won't consider it until the Ministry endorses this recommendation.
"In the end, everything will be okay. If it's not okay, then you have not reached the end." -- Unknown.

Offline Sashia

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Re: Anand - USA to India.
« Reply #10 on: August 09, 2009, 09:56:33 AM »
More talk of India signing the Hague
http://www.zeenews.com/news554002.html

Offline forthelost

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Re: Anand - USA to India.
« Reply #11 on: August 10, 2009, 03:29:18 PM »

Offline ananddad

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Re: Anand - USA to India.
« Reply #12 on: August 24, 2009, 03:21:18 PM »
I forgot my BLOG in my initial post. I maintain one strictly to keep my sanity. And in hopes that my son will know the truth (that I loved him, missed him and did everything possible to bring him back) when he grows up.
 
It is here: http://fightformyson.blogspot.com/.
"In the end, everything will be okay. If it's not okay, then you have not reached the end." -- Unknown.

Offline Packman

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Re: Anand - USA to India.
« Reply #13 on: September 07, 2009, 02:54:47 AM »
Quote from: ananddad;42264
All,



It took me 4 months to get Courts to assign me as the custodial parent. We had to serve her by publication for 6 consecutive weeks before Courts could rule on it.

.

Sorry to hear about this.  

Could you elaborate about the process a little more of how you got the Court to assign you as the custodial parent?  How do you serve by publication?

Offline ananddad

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Re: Anand - USA to India.
« Reply #14 on: September 07, 2009, 05:21:21 AM »
Quote from: Packman;46214
Could you elaborate about the process a little more of how you got the Court to assign you as the custodial parent? How do you serve by publication?
When the respondent is not at the last known address, the statute in Washington State permits you to serve by publication. You need to get Court's approval to do so. Once you have it, you need to publish it is a local newspaper for 6 consecutive weeks before the Court will make the ruling. After each week, you need to furnish proof of publication with the Court. These may be different in California (where you live).
"In the end, everything will be okay. If it's not okay, then you have not reached the end." -- Unknown.