United States Code

USC most recently checked for updates: Jul 02, 2022

§ 9101.
Definitions
In this chapter:
(1)
Abducted child

The term “abducted child” means a child who is the victim of international child abduction.

(2)
Abduction

The term “abduction” means the alleged wrongful removal of a child from the child’s country of habitual residence, or the wrongful retention of a child outside such country, in violation of a left-behind parent’s custodial rights, including the rights of a military parent.

(3)
Abduction case
The term “abduction case” means a case that—
(A)
has been reported to the Central Authority of the United States by a left-behind parent for the resolution of an abduction; and
(B)
meets the criteria for an international child abduction under the Hague Abduction Convention, regardless of whether the country at issue is a Convention country.
(4)
Access case

The term “access case” means a case involving an application filed with the Central Authority of the United States by a parent seeking rights of access.

(5)
Annual Report

The term “Annual Report” means the Annual Report on International Child Abduction required under section 9111 of this title.

(6)
Application
The term “application” means—
(A)
in the case of a Convention country, the application required pursuant to article 8 of the Hague Abduction Convention;
(B)
in the case of a bilateral procedures country, the formal document required, pursuant to the provisions of the applicable arrangement, to request the return of an abducted child or to request rights of access, as applicable; and
(C)
in the case of a non-Convention country, the formal request by the Central Authority of the United States to the Central Authority of such country requesting the return of an abducted child or for rights of contact with an abducted child.
(7)
Appropriate congressional committees

The term “appropriate congressional committees” means the Committee on Foreign Relations of the Senate and the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the House of Representatives.

(8)
Bilateral procedures

The term “bilateral procedures” means any procedures established by, or pursuant to, a bilateral arrangement, including a Memorandum of Understanding between the United States and another country, to resolve abduction and access cases, including procedures to address interim contact matters.

(9)
Bilateral procedures country

The term “bilateral procedures country” means a country with which the United States has entered into bilateral procedures, including Memoranda of Understanding, with respect to child abductions.

(10)
Central Authority
The term “Central Authority” means—
(A)
in the case of a Convention country, the meaning given such term in article 6 of the Hague Abduction Convention;
(B)
in the case of a bilateral procedures country, the official entity designated by the government of the bilateral procedures country within the applicable memorandum of understanding pursuant to section 9113(b)(1) of this title to discharge the duties imposed on the entity; and
(C)
in the case of a non-Convention country, the foreign ministry or other appropriate authority of such country.
(11)
Child

The term “child” means an individual who has not attained 16 years of age.

(12)
Convention country

The term “Convention country” means a country for which the Hague Abduction Convention has entered into force with respect to the United States.

(13)
Hague Abduction Convention

The term “Hague Abduction Convention” means the Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, done at The Hague October 25, 1980.

(14)
Interim contact

The term “interim contact” means the ability of a left-behind parent to communicate with or visit an abducted child during the pendency of an abduction case.

(15)
Left-behind parent

The term “left-behind parent” means an individual or legal custodian who alleges that an abduction has occurred that is in breach of rights of custody attributed to such individual.

(16)
Non-Convention country

The term “non-Convention country” means a country in which the Hague Abduction Convention has not entered into force with respect to the United States.

(17)
Overseas military dependent child

The term “overseas military dependent child” means a child whose habitual residence is the United States according to United States law even though the child is residing outside the United States with a military parent.

(18)
Overseas military parent
The term “overseas military parent” means an individual who—
(A)
has custodial rights with respect to a child; and
(B)
is serving outside the United States as a member of the United States Armed Forces.
(19)
Pattern of noncompliance
(A)
In general
The term “pattern of noncompliance” means the persistent failure—
(i)
of a Convention country to implement and abide by provisions of the Hague Abduction Convention;
(ii)
of a non-Convention country to abide by bilateral procedures that have been established between the United States and such country; or
(iii)
of a non-Convention country to work with the Central Authority of the United States to resolve abduction cases.
(B)
Persistent failure
Persistent failure under subparagraph (A) may be evidenced in a given country by the presence of 1 or more of the following criteria:
(i)
Thirty percent or more of the total abduction cases in such country are unresolved abduction cases.
(ii)
The Central Authority regularly fails to fulfill its responsibilities pursuant to—
(I)
the Hague Abduction Convention; or
(II)
any bilateral procedures between the United States and such country.
(iii)
(iv)
Law enforcement authorities regularly fail to enforce return orders or determinations of rights of access rendered by the judicial or administrative authorities of the government of the country in abduction cases.
(20)
Rights of access
The term “rights of access” means the establishment of rights of contact between a child and a parent seeking access in Convention countries—
(A)
by operation of law;
(B)
through a judicial or administrative determination; or
(C)
through a legally enforceable arrangement between the parties.
(21)
Rights of custody
The term “rights of custody” means rights of care and custody of a child, including the right to determine the place of residence of a child, under the laws of the country in which the child is a habitual resident—
(A)
attributed to an individual or legal custodian; and
(B)
arising—
(i)
by operation of law; or
(ii)
through a judicial or administrative decision; or
(iii)
through a legally enforceable arrangement between the parties.
(22)
Rights of interim contact
The term “rights of interim contact” means the rights of contact between a child and a left-behind parent, which has been provided as a provisional measure while an abduction case is pending, under the laws of the country in which the child is located—
(A)
by operation of law; or
(B)
through a judicial or administrative determination; or
(C)
through a legally enforceable arrangement between the parties.
(23)
Unresolved abduction case
(A)
In general

Subject to subparagraph (B), the term “unresolved abduction case” means an abduction case that remains unresolved for a period that exceeds 12 months after the date on which the completed application for return of the child is submitted for determination to the judicial or administrative authority, as applicable, in the country in which the child is located.

(B)
Resolution of case
An abduction case shall be considered to be resolved if—
(i)
the child is returned to the country of habitual residence, pursuant to the Hague Abduction Convention or other appropriate bilateral procedures, if applicable;
(ii)
the judicial or administrative branch, as applicable, of the government of the country in which the child is located has implemented, and is complying with, the provisions of the Hague Abduction Convention or other bilateral procedures, as applicable;
(iii)
the left-behind parent reaches a voluntary arrangement with the other parent;
(iv)
the left-behind parent submits a written withdrawal of the application or the request for assistance to the Department of State;
(v)
the left-behind parent cannot be located for 1 year despite the documented efforts of the Department of State to locate the parent; or
(vi)
the child or left-behind parent is deceased.
(Pub. L. 113–150, § 3, Aug. 8, 2014, 128 Stat. 1809.)
cite as: 22 USC 9101