Information for lawyers

Dear Lawyer,

You are taking part in proceedings under the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction (HCA) on behalf of one of the parents. These proceedings are aimed at determining whether the joint child will return to his or her home country. The expedited HCA-proceedings, however, do not question which arrangement would be better for the child’s welfare or which parent the child would prefer to live with.

We would like to point out the possibility of conducting mediation parallel to the HCA court proceedings.

The actual mediation is conducted by both a male and a female mediator, one of whom has a legal and the other a psychosocial or educational background. Furthermore, the mediators come from the same countries as the parents and therefore share with them the same cultural and linguistic backgrounds.

As you may know, mediation is a process during which both parents, assisted by two mediators, independently solve conflicts concerning their joint child. The mediators create a constructive atmosphere for discussions and ensure fair dealings between both parents. The mediators are not entitled to make any decisions; instead, they confine themselves to assisting the parties in working out for themselves a sensible solution to their problems. More specifically, the mediation can address not only the child’s primary residence, but also the child’s contact with both parents, visitation arrangements, agreements concerning the child’s maintenance, school education, bi-cultural upbringing, necessary arrangements for financial support etc.

In the framework of the mediation process, it is important to ensure the availability of the consulting lawyers by phone or otherwise, so that both parents have the opportunity to obtain advice at any time throughout the on-going mediation process.

It is desirable to have the results of the mediation recorded before the court to make them legally binding; in individual cases, the agreement may have to be safeguarded in the other country as well.

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