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German Law/child abduction/custody


Hello, if i traveled to Germany with a written note signed by my husband (American citizen) and the military legal office


'(Name) take temporary custody of my children and maintain and care for my children in my absence for any reason and exercise all legal rights in connection with the maintenance and care of said children, to the same extent as i could until such time as i can return and resume my normal parental duties. Also, authorize and execute consent for any and all medical and hospital care and treatment, including major surgery, deemed necessary by a duly licensed physician selected by my Attorney-in-Fact for the health and well-being of my children. This power of attorney applies to (name) '

(The termination date of this power of attorney would be valid for a year.) Can he still file for child abduction if i stayed in Germany, after our stay (vacation) would be over after a couple of weeks?
Is there ANYTHING i can do to prevent him for file for child abduction and getting our son back? Like traveling to Germany and file for the "Aufenthaltsbestimmungsrecht" right away?

Thank you!!!

Hello Janine,

if you stay in another country (e.g. Germany) longer than the permitted time, this would constitute an illegal child retention. Your husband could file for the return of your son under the Hague Child Abduction Convention.

The paper signed is only a power of attorney, supposed to help you to get medical treatment of the children. Your husband can rescind this power of attorney even before the time specified in it will be up. Also, this power of attorney granted by him cannot be used against him.

The only legal way to prevent a child abduction is getting a court order for custody or for permission to move to Germany in the state of your current residence. Whatever you file for in Germany, will be void because Germany doesn't have jurisdiction (Art. 16 Hague Child Abduction Convention). Even if a German court would issue such an order, it would not prevent the father from applying for the return of your son. Actually, if you did file for custody in Germany, it would probably be used against you because it would look as if you were sneakily trying to remove your son from his father without granting him due process in court. This could backfire.

The Hague Child Abduction Convention, ratified by both the US and Germany, is very clear: if there is a dispute between the parents about where to move with the child, that dispute has to be settled by the court of the country of the last joint residence.

More on international child abduction:

Andreas Moser

German Law

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Andreas Moser


Extensive experience in international family law, especially international child abductions and child custody cases. All other areas of German law as well: constitutional law, criminal law, business and contract law, immigration law, inheritance law, and so on.


Lawyer in Germany from 2002 to 2009. Lawyer for US Army JAG Corps before. Bar-certified specialisation in family law and in administrative law. Articles and lectures about international and domestic family law.


2000 Law Degree from University of Regensburg, Germany 2002 admitted to the bar (until 2009) 2013 MA Philosophy at the Open University, UK

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