One place of habitual residence

by | May 22, 2022

Court of Appeal The Hague, The Netherlands
April 3, 2019

In child abduction cases, the court must determine where the child had his or her habitual residence immediately prior to his or her removal or retention.

Sometimes a child may simultaneously have two places in different countries of frequent residence and could be said to have two habitual places of residence.

This may be the case, for example, if the parents live in two different countries and the child alternates between staying with one parent and the other. It could also be that the parents and the child together alternated between staying in one country and another.

In 2016, the Court of Appeal of The Hague had still ruled that the child had two habitual places of residence immediately before the transfer, and that therefore a clear habitual place of residence could not be designated.

However, in 2019, the Court of Appeal of The Hague ruled that when interpreting the Hague Convention on Child Abduction, a child may only have one habitual residence. That ruling has been leading since then. The ruling is also consistent with European Court of Justice rulings on the habitual residence of children and with rulings in several other treaty countries.