Travel.State.Gov > International Parental Child Abduction > Country Information > Belarus International Parental Child Abduction Information
For information concerning travel to Belarus, 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 Belarus.
The U.S. Department of State reports statistics and compliance information for individual countries in the Annual Report on International Child Abduction. The report is located here.
Belarus acceded to the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction (Hague Abduction Convention) on January 12, 1998; however, the United States and Belarus are not yet treaty partners. Until Belarus and the United States establish a treaty relationship per Article 38 of the Convention, parents whose children have been abducted from the United States to Belarus or wrongfully retained in Belarus are unable to invoke the Convention to pursue their children’s return or to seek access to them.
Legal systems and laws pertaining to custody, divorce, and parental abduction vary widely from country to country. The government of Belarus maintains information about custody, visitation, and family law on the Internet here. (The Code of the Republic of Belarus on Marriage and Family). Parents are encouraged to consult with an attorney who specializes in family law in Belarus and who can provide accurate legal guidance that is specific to their circumstances.
The Department of State’s Bureau of Consular Affairs, Directorate for Overseas Citizens Services, Office of Children’s Issues provides assistance in cases of international parental child abduction. For U.S. citizen parents whose children have been wrongfully removed to or retained in countries that are not U.S. partners under the Hague Abduction Convention, the Office of Children’s Issues can provide information and resources about country-specific options for pursuing the return of or access to an abducted child. The Office of Children’s Issues may also coordinate with appropriate foreign and U.S. government authorities about the welfare of abducted U.S. citizen children. Parents are strongly encouraged to contact the Department of State for assistance.
Bureau of Consular Affairs
Office of Children's
SA-17, 9th Floor
Washington, DC 20522-1709
Outside the United States or Canada: 1-202-501-4444
Parental child abduction is not a crime in Belarus. This is in accordance with the Criminal Code of the Republic of Belarus, which is available here at (Russian only).
Parents may wish to consult with an attorney in the United States and in the country to which the child has been removed or retained to learn more about how filing criminal charges may impact a custody case in the foreign court. Please see Possible Solutions - Pressing Criminal Charges for more information.
Legal systems and laws pertaining to custody, divorce, and parental abduction vary widely from country to country. Parents are encouraged to consult with an attorney who specializes in family law in Belarus and who can provide accurate legal guidance that is specific to their circumstances.
The Office of Children’s Issues may be able to assist parents seeking access to children who have been wrongfully removed from or retained outside the United States. Parents who are seeking access to children who were not wrongfully removed from or retained outside the United States should contact the appropriate U.S. Embassy or Consulate in Belarus for information and possible assistance.
Neither the Office of Children’s Issues nor consular officials at the U.S. Embassy or Consulates in Belarus are authorized to provide legal advice.
The U.S. Embassy in Minsk, Belarus, posts a list of attorneys, including those who specialize in family law.
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.
Mediation is a possible remedy for both abduction and access cases. According to the Law on Mediation of the Republic of Belarus, Russian only), mediation is performed by a licensed mediator provided both parties agree to the process of mediation. Mediation is voluntary. The registry of licensed mediators is maintained by the Ministry of Justice. The Law on Mediation in Belarus will come into legal force on August 26, 2014.
While travelling in a foreign country, you are subject to the laws of that country. It is important for parents to understand that, although a left-behind parent in the United States may have custody or visitation rights pursuant to a U.S. custody order, that order may not be valid and enforceable in the country in which the child is located. For this reason, we strongly encourage you to speak to a local attorney if planning to remove a child from a foreign country without the consent of the other parent. Attempts to remove your child to the United States may:
The U.S. government cannot interfere with another country’s court or law enforcement system.
To understand the legal effect of a U.S. order in a foreign country, a parent should consult with a local attorney in the country in which the child is located.
For information about hiring an attorney abroad, see our section on Retaining a Foreign Attorney.
Although we cannot recommend an attorney to you, most U.S. Embassies have lists of attorneys available online. Please visit the local U.S. Embassy or Consulate website for a full listing.
For more information on consular assistance for U.S. citizens arrested abroad, please see our website.
Country officers are available to speak with you Monday - Friday, 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. For assistance with an abduction in progress or any emergency situation that occurs after normal business hours, on weekends, or federal holidays, please call toll free at 1-888-407-4747. See all contact information.
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.