Getting a Voluntary Agreement

Voluntary Return or Access Letters: Hague Cases Only

After receiving your application, our office will confirm your child’s location in the United States. The next step is to try to find a voluntary resolution for your case. This step is optional. If you wish to pursue a voluntary resolution, make sure you submit the appropriate form. This form confirms your preference to seek a voluntary solution before litigation.

If you opt to pursue a voluntary resolution, the U.S. Central Authority will send a letter to your child's other parent. This letter serves two purposes. First, it provides some information about the Hague Convention and explains our role as the Central Authority. Second, it asks  the other parent if they wish to consider voluntarily returning the child in abduction cases.  Or, in an access case, to consider providing access to the applicant parent. Our office requests that the parent with the child respond within two weeks. When the parent responds, we will inform the Foreign Central Authority. If the parent does not agree to return the child voluntarily, the case may proceed to litigation under the Convention.

NOTE: If your child is in California, the California Attorney General's Office does not send voluntary return or access letters.


What is Mediation? Mediation is when two parties agree to work with a trained, impartial professional, to come to an agreement. For more on mediation, please click here.

Parents who consider mediation should always ask their legal representatives for guidance. Ask your Country Officer in the Office of Children’s Issues for information about mediation programs in the United States and other countries. But, your Country Officer cannot give advice about whether or how to proceed.

Additional Resources:

Below are some resources that parents may consider. This list is provided as a courtesy only. The Department of State assumes no responsibility or liability for the professional ability  or the quality of services provided by, the organizations included in this list. Inclusion on this list does not constitute an endorsement or recommendation of any organization or individual attorney by U.S. Department of State. Any fees associated with services should be discussed with the mediation programs directly. 



Consult with your attorney before making any decisions that could affect the outcome of your case. Ask your Country Officer in the Office of Children's Issues for information about mediation in the country where your child is located.