India - A Parent Child Abduction Risk
If you are worried that your ex-spouse could possibly abduct your child by taking them to India, it pays to take heed to your worries. India has not signed the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. Currently, The Hague seeks to return children to their residency country when there is a dispute over child custody. However, India does not participate in this practice.
In fact, India fashions its child custody decisions after the religious beliefs of the parents. For example: If the family is Hindu, the Indian court favors the child to be with the mother up to age five but not necessarily afterwards. If the family is Muslim, the Indian court favors the child to be with the mother up to the age of seven or until puberty but not necessarily afterwards and a male child could differ.In the United States, we favor a policy of the best interest of the child, which includes but is not exclusive of the relationship of the child with each parent, the residency established by the child and the basic daily needs and habits of the child. In India, United States custody orders are not automatically enforced and there is no registration process to secure the jurisdiction of the child. Additionally, parent child abduction is not a criminal offense in India; therefore, a parent child abductor would not fall under an extradition agreement with the United States.
As a result, parent child abduction is a very real risk when one or both parents are Indian citizens and desire to take the child back to India. Of course, this risk varies by family because of family resources and relationships. If this is a risk that concerns you, please seek legal advice to protect yourself.