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Other Things to Know
- Legal services.
- In the United States if you are of limited means, there is not likely to be any legal aid or other free legal services that will be promptly available to you. And in these cases, speed is often crucial.
- An experienced lawyer might be very helpful, but you do not need a lawyer in order to contact the U.S. Central Authority. The Central Authority might be able to recommend an experienced lawyer who would be willing to assist you for a reduced fee.
- You must file a Request for Return within one year after the kidnapping in order for the right of return provisions of the Hague Abduction Convention to apply.
- If your spouse is found, the lawyer can ask the court to order your spouse to pay for all of your legal fees and costs. But the client still has the primary responsibility for paying these fees and costs to the lawyer. Typically if one spouse is of limited means, the other spouse also will have limited means. So there may be little likelihood of actually collecting an award of fees from the other spouse.
- In the event of an Order of Return pursuant to the Hague Abduction Convention, an award of attorney's fees, absent strong countervailing reasons, is mandated by U.S. federal legislation.
- Make sure that your fee agreement with your lawyer is in writing. If your fee is being guaranteed by someone else, that person also should sign and have a copy of the written agreement.
- If the kidnapping is to another country that has not adopted the Hague Abduction Convention, consider using the principles in the Uniform Child Custody J