Interstate and International Child Abduction

What happens if your child is taken out of the state?

Kidnapping and child abduction are very serious situations that require swift and precise actions to address them. If your child has been taken across state lines, you may need to seek emergency court orders for the child to be returned. If your child has been taken out of the country, you may need to initiate international remedies like commencing a proceeding under the Hague Convention. 

Knowing which type of action to take, as well as when and where to take it, will be crucial to your chances of sucessfully remedying the situation. Gabbard Family Law routinely handles interstate custody and international abduction cases and can provide you with the advice for the best opportunity to achieve your goals in these difficult circumstances.


Standard Family Law Automatic Temporary Restraining Orders prohibit both parents from removing a child from the state pending judgment without a court order or consent of the other parent.

Continuing Jurisdiction

Once a court makes custody orders, it retains jurisdiction to do so until no party or minor child lives in the state and it relinquishes its jurisdiction.

Habitual Residence

Unlike home state under the UCCJEA, the place of habitual residence in Hague proceedings involves a totality of circumstances analysis.

Hague Petition for International Child Abduction

International child abduction can be a traumatic and distressing experience for both parents and children involved. Fortunately, there are legal measures in place to help prevent and resolve cases of international child abduction.

The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction is a treaty signed by over 100 countries, including the United States. The Convention provides a framework for resolving cases of international child abduction by establishing procedures for the prompt return of children who have been wrongfully removed from their country of habitual residence.

As a family law attorney with experience in international child abduction cases, Gabbard Family Law can assist you in navigating the legal complexities of the Hague Convention. Whether you are seeking the return of a wrongfully abducted child or defending against an abduction claim, I can provide you with the guidance and representation you need to protect your rights and the best interests of your child.

If you are facing an international child abduction situation, do not hesitate to contact this office for a consultation. This California family law attorney is dedicated to helping families find swift and effective solutions to these difficult and emotionally charged situations.

Wrongful Removal or Retention

A Hague Petition involves a child who was wrongfully removed from or retained outside of the place of habitual residence

Home State Jurisdiction

Under the UCCJEA, a child’s home state is where the child lived during the 6 months immediately before the child custody matter begins

Temporary Emergency Jurisdiction

California courts can make emergency child custody orders even if it is not the home state but only while the emergency exists

How do you know where to file a child custody case?

When it comes to child custody disputes, one of the most important factors to consider is jurisdiction. The Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA) is a law that has been adopted by all 50 states, including California, to provide clarity on which state has jurisdiction to make decisions regarding child custody.

The Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA) is a legal framework that helps resolve conflicts between parents residing in different states over child custody matters. Under the UCCJEA, the child’s home state is granted jurisdiction to determine custody issues, and all other states defer to the child’s home state. This act ensures that there is a unified and consistent approach to resolving custody issues, regardless of where the parents reside.

Under California law, the UCCJEA governs child custody jurisdiction when the child has been living in California for at least six months before the custody dispute begins. In these cases, California has exclusive jurisdiction over the custody matter, meaning that only California courts can make decisions regarding the custody of the child.

However, if the child has not been living in California for at least six months, the UCCJEA provides a set of rules for determining which state has jurisdiction over the custody matter. These rules consider various factors, such as the child’s past and current connections to each state, as well as the safety and well-being of the child.

As a California family law attorney, Gabbard Family Law understands that issues related to child custody can be emotionally charged and complex, particularly when parents reside in different states. An experienced attorney can help parents understand their legal rights and options under the UCCJEA, and work to protect the best interests of the child.

If you are facing an interstate child custody issue, this California family law attorney is here to help. With extensive experience in navigating the complexities of the UCCJEA, Gabbard Family Law can provide you with the guidance and representation you need to protect your rights and the best interests of your child.

Please contact my office today to schedule a consultation. I am committed to helping families find effective solutions to interstate child custody disputes, and I will work tirelessly to help you achieve the best possible outcome for you and your child.

Challenging Jurisdiction

Before filing a pleading or making a court appearance on your own, seek an attorney to specially appear on your behalf to address jurisdictional issues.

Motion to Quash

If a case has been filed in a court lacking subject matter or personal jurisdiction, a motion to quash and dismiss might be needed.

Divisible Divorce

Even if child custody related issues are dismissed, California courts have disretion to retain jurisdiction over the other aspects of divorce like property and finances.

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