International Law, Abusive Fathers & Custody Decisions


When battered women leave their abusive partners and returned with their children to the United States, half of the time, U.S. courts sent the children back, usually to their fathers, University of Washington Professor Taryn Lindhorst and University of Minnesota Professor Jeffrey Edleson found in a new survey of court cases.

The children’s return is in accordance with an international treaty, the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. The court decisions were grim for the women. In almost half, 12 of 22, the court sent the children back to the country they had fled from with their mothers. In seven of those cases, the fathers gained custody. Seven women — a third of the sample — also faced criminal kidnapping charges in foreign courts.

Read the full report here.

Use the Crime Report for more information on contested custody cases.

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