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The Divorce Encyclopedia
Central Authority (CA)


Term Definition Central Authority (CA) - an agency dealing with child abduction cases.
Application in Divorce Parental kidnapping has become more of a problem in recent years, and because of this, governments have turned to a central authority to deal with child abduction.

The United States and about 35 other countries are signatories to the Hague Convention. Under the convention, each country designates a CA to handle child abduction cases. The CA in the United States is the Department of State’s Office of Children’s Issues.

The CA works in a number of ways.

Parents seeking the return of a child can get help obtaining legal services through the CA. It provides local courts with information about the convention, obtains periodic updates from the court, processes requests for background checks on the child’s country of habitual residence, and may ask a local social welfare agency to investigate a child’s welfare.

In the United States, the National Center on Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) refers cases to the CA.

See also Habitual Residence, Hague Convention and the National Center on Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC).

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