CroatiaOfficial Name: Republic of Croatia
Embassies and Consulates
2 Thomas Jefferson Street
10010 Zagreb, Croatia
Telephone: 385 (1) 661-2200
Emergency Telephone: 385 (1) 661-2400
Fax: 385 (1) 665-8933
Croatia and the United States have been treaty partners under the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction (Hague Abduction Convention) since December 1, 1991.
For information concerning travel to Croatia, including information about the location of the U.S. Embassy, the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program, entry/exit requirements, safety and security, crime, medical facilities and health information, traffic safety, road conditions and aviation safety, please see country-specific information for Croatia at: http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/cis/cis_1095.html.
Hague Abduction Convention
The U.S. Department of State serves as the U.S. Central Authority (USCA) for the Hague Abduction Convention. In this capacity, the Department’s Bureau of Consular Affairs, Directorate for Overseas Citizens Services, Office of Children’s Issues facilitates the submission of applications under the Hague Abduction Convention for the return of, or access to, children located in countries that are U.S. treaty partners, including Croatia. Parents are strongly encouraged to contact the Department of State for assistance prior to initiating the Hague process directly with the foreign central authority.
United States Department of State
Bureau of Consular Affairs
SA-17, 9th Floor
Washington, DC 20522-1709
Outside the United States or Canada: 1-202-501-4444
The Croatia Central Authority (CCA) for the Hague Abduction Convention is located in the Ministry of Justice (MOJ). The CCA has an administrative role in processing Hague Abduction Convention applications. The CCA forwards completed Hague petitions to the competent municipal court and to the social welfare agency within the jurisdiction of the child’s location. The social welfare agency will attempt to secure a voluntary return of the child, if appropriate.
The CCA can be reached at:
To initiate a Hague case for return of, or access to, a child in Croatia, the USCA encourages a parent or legal guardian to review the eligibility criteria and instructions for completing the Hague application form located at a the Department of State website and contact the Department of State for assistance prior to initiating the Hague process directly with the CCA. Translations of the Hague Abduction Convention application and submitted documents into Croatian are not required. The USCA is available to answer questions about the Hague application process, to forward a completed application to CCA, and to subsequently monitor its progress through the foreign administrative and legal processes.
There are no fees for filing Hague applications with either the U.S. or Croatia central authorities. The CCA offers free legal aid and other professional assistance to all parties in Hague Abduction Convention proceedings. Additional costs may include airplane tickets for court appearances and for the return of the child, if so ordered.
A parent or legal guardian may file an application under the Hague Abduction Convention for return to the United States of a child abducted to, or wrongfully retained in, Croatia. The U.S. Department of State can assist parents living in the United States to understand whether the Convention is an available civil remedy and can provide information on the process for submitting a Hague application.
A person may file an application under the Hague Abduction Convention for access to a child living in Croatia. The criteria for acceptance of a Hague access application vary from country to country. The U.S. Department of State can assist parents living in the United States to understand country-specific criteria and provide information on the process for submitting a Hague application.
Retaining an Attorney
The competent social welfare agency will appoint an attorney as a guardian ad litem in order to ensure the protection of the child in Hague proceedings. The Ministry of Social Policy and Youth may appoint an attorney for left-behind parents who are unable to afford an attorney. Parents may also choose to retain private legal counsel in Croatia to handle their Hague case. A parent who hires private counsel should notify both the Croatian and the U.S. central authorities.
The U.S. Embassy in Zagreb, Croatia, posts a list of attorneys including those who specialize in family law at: http://zagreb.usembassy.gov/service/special-consular-services.html.
This list is provided as a courtesy service only and does not constitute an endorsement of any individual attorney. The Department of State assumes no responsibility or liability for the professional ability or reputation of, or the quality of services provided by, the persons or firms included in this list. Professional credentials and areas of expertise are provided directly by the lawyers.
The CCA strongly promotes mediation and will attempt to initiate mediation in all Hague Abduction Convention cases.
Do not attempt to take back your child
We strongly discourage taking matters into your own hands. The measures could be illegal and may delay your child’s return. Attempts to re-abduct your child from the United States may:
- Endanger your child and others;
- Prejudice any future judicial efforts you might wish to make in the United States; and
- Could even result in your arrest and imprisonment.
Finally, there is no guarantee that the chain of abductions would end with the one committed by you. A parent who has re-abducted a child may have to go to extraordinary lengths to conceal his or her whereabouts, living in permanent fear that the child may be re-abducted yet again.
If you are contemplating such desperate measures, we advise you to consider the emotional trauma inflicted on a child who is a victim of an abduction and a re-abduction. We discourage re-abduction not only because it is illegal, but also because of possible psychological harm to the child.
DISCLAIMER: The information in this flyer is provided for general information only, is not intended to be legal advice, and may change without notice. Questions involving interpretation of law should be addressed to an attorney licensed in the relevant jurisdiction.