Travel.State.Gov > International Parental Child Abduction > Country Information > Ukraine International Parental Child Abduction Information
Ukraine 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 September 1, 2007.
For information concerning travel to Ukraine, 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 Ukraine.
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.
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 Ukraine. 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
Office of Children's
SA-17, 9th Floor
Washington, DC 20522-1709
Outside the United States or Canada: 1-202-501-4444
The Ukrainian Central Authority for the Hague Abduction Convention is the Ministry of Justice of Ukraine. The Ministry of Justice takes measures to locate the child and taking parent; approaches local authorities to arrange a meeting to attempt a voluntary return of the child, if appropriate; and makes arrangements with the local children's welfare office (Custody and Care Office) to check the child's living conditions. The Ukrainian Central Authority can be reached at:
The Ukrainian Central Authority can be reached at:
To initiate a Hague case for return of, or access to, a child in Ukraine, the left-behind parent must submit a Hague application to the Ukrainian Central Authority. It is extremely important that each document written in English be translated into Ukrainian. Please note, however, that certified translations are not necessary. The USCA is available to answer questions about the Hague application process, to forward a completed application to the Ministry of Justice of Ukraine, and to subsequently monitor its progress through the foreign administrative and legal processes.
There are no fees for filing Hague applications with either the United States or Ukrainian central authorities. The Ukrainian Central Authority provides legal representation at no cost to left-behind parents; however, the parent or legal guardian who has submitted the application may hire a private attorney in Ukraine. A privately hired attorney should contact the Ukrainian Central Authority as soon as possible after the Hague Abduction Convention application has been filed with the Ukrainian Central Authority.
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, Ukraine. 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 Ukraine. 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.
In a Hague Abduction Convention case, it is not mandatory for a petitioner to retain a private attorney because the Ukrainian Central Authority provides legal representation at no cost to left-behind parents. However, the parent or legal guardian who has submitted the Hague application may hire a private attorney in Ukraine to follow up on the case and to provide information directly to the court. A privately hired attorney should contact the Ukrainian Central Authority as soon as possible after the Hague Abduction Convention application has been filed with the Ukrainian Central Authority.
Ukraine offers legal assistance to Ukrainian citizens who qualify.
The U.S. Embassy in Kyiv, Ukraine 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.
The Ukrainian Central Authority states that there are no governmental or non-governmental organizations that offer family mediation services in child custody disputes in Ukraine. Parties who wish to pursue mediation as an alternative to formal court proceedings will have to seek private resources.
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.