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Why India's stance on the Hague Convention is important to Ohio

Ohio has a relatively large Asian population that's been steadily growing over the last few decades -- which mirrors the growth in the rest of the country as well.

Nationally, however, Asians from India, China, Korea, Thailand and other areas tend to seek the diversity and lower-crime rates of states like Ohio, so there have been increasing numbers of Asians in places like Akron and Cleveland as opposed to mega-cities like New York or Chicago.

That makes India's refusal to sign the Hague Convention -- despite increased pressure from both the United States and other countries -- such a big concern for Asian Indians who have strong family ties back in India and a rocky marriage here in Ohio.

If a parent takes a child from its other parent in Ohio and flees overseas, what happens next is largely controlled by whether or not the other country is part of the treaty called the Hague Convention.

If it is, the child is considered abducted and is subject to the judicial rulings of the domestic courts in Ohio. If not, parents face a difficult time getting their child returned to them absent a lot of political pressure, luck and help.

The growing population in Ohio with ties to India and the growing divorce rate in Indian marriages added a sense of urgency to the recent round of pressure applied to India's leaders regarding the Hague Convention.

Despite this pressure, India still refused to sign the agreement. From the perspective of many Indians, the Hague Convention would put many Indian women fleeing abusive marriages at a disadvantage. They say that it is usually the mother who flees back to her family in India with her children in tow to escape abusive husbands. Criminalizing the actions of those mothers by declaring the situation a child abduction in India as well as the United States would be adding more woes to women that are already victimized and putting the children back into dangerous situations.

If you're in a marriage that's falling apart and your spouse has significant ties to India, it's important to discuss this issue with your attorney. The family court judge can often order the child's passport turned over to the court to keep an abduction from happening and enforce a custody order -- but you may need to act quickly.

Source: The Diplomat, "India's International Child Abduction Dilemma," Neeta Lal, accessed Oct. 12, 2017

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