International Parental Child Abduction

Parental child abduction is a tragedy. When a child is abducted across international borders, the difficulties are compounded for everyone involved.

The Department of State considers international parental child abduction, as well as the welfare and protection of U.S. citizen children taken overseas, to be important, serious matters. We place the highest priority on the welfare of children who have been victimized by international abductions.

The Department of State’s Office of Children’s Issues (CA/OCS/CI) is designated to provide assistance to the left-behind parents of international parental child abduction:

  • Office of Children’s Issues
    Toll Free Phone from within the U.S.: 1-888-407-4747 (8 a.m. – 8 p.m.)
    Phone: (202) 736-9090
    Adoption Office Fax: (202) 736-9080
    Abduction Office Fax: (202) 736-9133

Please refer to the country specific flyer for Germany if your child has been abducted to Germany.

The contact information for the German Central Authority is:

  • Bundesamt für Justiz
    -Zentrale Behörde –
    Adenauerallee 99-103
    53113 Bonn
    Tel: +49-228-99-410 – 40
    Fax:+49-228-99-410-5401
  • E-mail: int.sorgerecht@bfj.bund.de

If the taking parent is not willing to return the child voluntarily, the German Central Authority can appoint an attorney to represent the left-behind parent in court hearings. These attorneys often have prior experience with Hague cases and generally have good command of the English language.

A list of lawyers specializing in Custody Issues can be found here.

Alternatively, parents may, if they desire, retain private German legal counsel and have their Hague application handled by their chosen attorney. Payment arrangements would then be made directly with your attorney. In these cases, it is important to let the USCA (U.S. Central Authority) and the GCA (German Central Authority) know of this decision.

The German Federal Government is extremely supportive of mediation programs to resolve international parental abduction cases.  While courts cannot order cases into mediation, judges can and do strongly encourage mediated resolutions and can stay hearings to permit parties the time to mediate.  In general, social workers, family lawyers, and judges not hearing the case can serve as mediators in their particular geographic region.

Participation in mediation is voluntary.

MiKK e.V. International Mediation Centre for Family Conflict and Child Abduction is a non-profit organization providing multi-lingual and free-of-charge support, advice and referrals to mediation for parents in cases of cross-border contact, custody and relocation conflicts, as well as in cases of international parental child abduction.  MiKK organizes mediations using its global network of over 150 MiKK-trained specialized and experienced international family mediators who are fluent in 30 languages. Please see MiKK’s website at https://www.mikk-ev.de/en/ or call MiKK on +49 (0)30 74 78 78 79 for more information.

If you are not certain which consular district is responsible in your case, please refer to
U.S. Citizen Services in Germany – Which Consulate Serves Your Area?

For more details please refer to the International Parental Child Abduction homepage on http://www.travel.state.gov/ .