How does New Jersey handle international child abduction cases?

Overview of International Child Abduction Cases in New Jersey

New Jersey, like all states in the U.S., tackles international child abduction cases with a blend of domestic law and adherence to international treaties, most notably the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. The Hague Convention seeks to protect children from the harmful effects of abduction and retention across international boundaries by providing a procedure to bring about their prompt return.

The New Jersey courts work collaboratively with the U.S. Department of State and other international entities to address such cases. These courts are empowered to take all necessary measures to locate a child who has been wrongfully removed or retained and ensure their safe return to the custodial parent.

Legal Framework and Procedures in New Jersey

When a child is abducted from New Jersey to another country, or into New Jersey from a foreign jurisdiction, the primary legal instrument is the Hague Convention, provided both countries are signatory parties. The Office of Children's Issues within the U.S. Department of State acts as the Central Authority for handling these cases under the Convention. They assist in navigating through foreign legal systems, communicating with foreign authorities, and providing information about U.S. laws.

New Jersey law enforcement agencies also play a crucial role by working alongside federal and international authorities to investigate and locate abducted children. They coordinate with organizations such as INTERPOL and may issue an Amber Alert if the situation meets the necessary criteria.

For instance, in a historical case involving New Jersey, David Goldman fought a five-year battle to bring his son back from Brazil after his son's mother took him there without Goldman's consent. This high-profile case highlighted the complexities involved in international child abduction cases and brought attention to the need for effective legal mechanisms to handle such situations.

Challenges Involved

Despite the existence of legal frameworks like the Hague Convention, recovering an internationally abducted child can be fraught with difficulties. Legal systems vary widely between countries, and cultural differences can further complicate matters. Additionally, some countries may not be signatories to the Hague Convention or may not comply fully with its provisions, making it harder for parents in New Jersey to seek remedy.


In conclusion, while New Jersey possesses a robust set of tools and complies with international standards for addressing international child abduction cases, each case poses unique challenges. It is often a race against time, requiring swift action by parents, legal professionals, and authorities at both state and federal levels to navigate complex international legal landscapes.