UK Relationships/What should an American father do?
What should an American father do? His daughter wants her American father to visit her in the United Kingdom. His daughter that is born in the United Kingdom (she is a citizen of the United States and United Kingdom) tells him that she does not want to visit the United States before child custody ends at age 18, because she is afraid that her American father will not allow her to return to the United Kingdom before her 18 birthday. She is also afraid that if she were to visit the United States before her 18 birthday, he will file for custody of her in the United States family courts. She is also afraid that if she were to visit the United States and return to the UK, there would be a Interpol Red Notice issued against her British mother for violating The International Parental Kidnapping Crime Act 1993 (IPKCA). She knows that this will not be a legal issue if she were visit the United States for the first time after her 18 birthday.
Despite being a former police officer I am not a custody law, or IPKCA / Hague Convention authority so I want to be clear here that I am not commenting from a legal perspective, only a relationship perspective.
There are couple of things that aren't clear to me ; the first one is, why doesn't the father simply make arrangements to visit the UK? It would seem that for various reasons, both personal and legal, the girl visiting the US prior to her 18th birthday is a complex endeavor and so the simple solution , to an outside observer, is that the father goes to the visit the girl in the UK.......
Is there any reason that this is not possible or suitable? Because it seems like the obvious and easiest answer.
Secondly how far is the girl from her 18th Birthday? If the girl is relatively close - say 16 or older then again the common sense answer seems to be to make arrangements for the father to visit the UK once or twice while waiting for her 18th birthday and the restrictions that will be eliminated by that time. Of course if several years must pass before her 18th birthday then the waiting is harder and it makes sense to find a way for her to visit the US.
It does sound like there are perhaps some trust a relationship issues that need to be addressed before anything else happens. You say;
"She is afraid that her American father will not allow her to return to the United Kingdom before her 18 birthday. She is also afraid that if she were to visit the United States before her 18 birthday, he will file for custody of her in the United States family courts."
If the girl genuinely fears either of those outcomes then I am not surprised that she is reluctant to travel. I have no doubt whatsoever that if the father took either of those actions he would do so out of love for his child and desire to have her close BUT the child's welfare, peace-of-mind and sense of self-worth and self-determination should be absolutely and unconditionally paramount in this scenario. Any sense that she should travel to the US, and find herself in a situation where she is legally, emotionally or otherwise forced to stay, against her will is a etrayal of her trust and likely to significantly damage her relationship with her father.
So - I would say that the first step is to build trust. The father should visit the girl in the UK , spend time with her and assure her that he will not act to enforce any domicile upon her or restrict her movements or threaten the status quo should she not wish it. And then , if the trust is established and the girl does visit the US , the father must unconditionally keep his word, no matter how much it hurts. If he doesn't then he risks permanently damaging the bond of trust that should exist between father and daughter and when she's 18 - she only do what she wants anyway but this time filled with resentment.
It would be worth consulting a lawyer to understand the risks under IPKCA but I suspect they are not high. The girl is a dual citizen with full entitlement in both countries, both signatories to the Hague Convention. In the 6 years between IPKCA assignation in 93 through to 99 only 62 indictments were made for only 13 convictions - from thousands of potential cases. But as I say it would be best to seek expert legal opinion.
Best of luck to everyone concerned.