Unmarried Israeli Mother Takes Child To Israel Without Father Knowing: I am English and have been living in London with my Israeli partner. We are not married. She has now taken our son to Israel without my permission or knowledge and is refusing to return home. What legal action can I take to get my son home?

Your legal situation is complicated because you are not married. Although the Hague Convention binds both Israel and the UK, only parents who have ‘rights of custody’ can apply under the Convention for the return of the child. Under English law an unmarried father does not have automatic ‘parental responsibility’ (in the language of the Hague Convention this is the same as ‘rights of custody’). There are ways under English law of obtaining ‘parental responsibility’ . You need to take speedy legal advice from an expert in English family law, in order to find out whether you have ‘parental responsibility’, whether you can get it, whether this is a situation where under English law the court can be treated as having ‘rights of custody’ (for example if there are court proceedings in existence between you and your partner about your child), and, finally, whether you can use the Hague Convention. If the answer is that you cannot, you will have to start legal proceedings in an Israeli Family Court for the return of your child. You need good legal advice in Israel to do this.

Hague Convention Countries

The “Hague” countries that are bound by the Convention in relation to abductions to and from Israel are:

Andorra | Argentina | Australia | Austria | The Bahamas | Belarus | Belgium | Belize | Bosnia and Herzegovina | Brazil | Burkina Faso | Canada | Cayman Islands | Chile | China | (Hong Kong & Macau) | Colombia | Croatia | Cyprus | Czech Republic | Denmark | Ecuador | Estonia | Falkland Islands | Fiji | Finland | France | Gabon | Georgia | Germany | Greece | Honduras | Hungary | Iceland | Ireland | Israel | Italy | Japan | Latvia | Lithuania | Luxembourg | Macedonia | Malta | Mauritius | Mexico | Monaco | Moldova | Morocco | Netherlands | New Zealand | Nicaragua | Norway | Panama | Paraguay | Peru | Poland | Portugal | Romania | Russia | St Kitts and Nevis | Serbia and Montenegro  | Singapore | Slovakia | Slovenia | South Africa | Spain | Sweden | Switzerland | Turkey | Turkmenistan | United Kingdom | United States of America | Ukraine | Uruguay | Uzbekistan | Venezuela | Zimbabwe

New countries may join the Convention in the future so that it applies to abductions between them and Israel, if Israel accepts their accession.