Webinar (Aug/2013): Introduction To Cross Border Family Mediation

Introduction to the Cross Border Family Mediation: Guide to Good Practice under the Child Abduction Convention

Presented by Maureen Dabbagh




In 2009, the Council on General Affairs and Policy of the Hague Conference on Private International Law authorized the establishment of a Working Party to promote the development of mediation structures to help resolve cross-border family disputes concerning custody of, or contact with, children, including cases of unilateral removal of a child to another State, where the Hague Convention of 25 October 1980 on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction and the Hague Convention. Research indicates that the vast percentage of children kidnapped across international borders by a parent or relative come from bicultural homes with each parent holding different nationalities. With 1 in 7 marriages reported as bicultural in the USA in 2010, international family law, especially child custody has expanded to include cross border family mediation. The effects on the child include a large range of attachment disorders. Defined as child abuse, parental kidnapping is addressed in civil and criminal law. Prevention of abduction is examined through Hague mediation. Post abduction presents unique challenges which predispose traditional family mediation as being inappropriate, according to the American Bar Association, Center on Children and the law.


This presentation examines when a family mediator becomes a crisis negotiator using the presenter’s case studies. As well, we will explore the PRINCIPLES FOR THE ESTABLISHMENT OF MEDIATION STRUCTURES IN THE CONTEXT OF THE MALTA PROCESS as an extension of international treaty; The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects on International Parental Abduction to which nearly 100 countries, including the United States is a party to. Participate will be introduced to:


  • International standards and guidelines in mediating cases of child custody disputes across international borders.
  • Organizations, laws, programs, and protocols specific to cross border family mediation
  • Specific characteristics found in high conflict families
  • Intimate cultural practices, religious disputes, and other issues found in cross border child custody disputes
  • Security and safety concerns in mediating with high conflict families


Presenter Bio:


Maureen Dabbagh is an independent ADR practitioner with 15+ years’ experience. She is a certified Virginia Supreme Court J & D Mediator, and has developed training and curriculum development for mediator continuing education, and served in community outreach services for cross border family mediation. Accredited through IMI, she began her career working on an international scale with high conflict situations in a multi-cultural context. Her work has repeatedly taken her to the Middle East and N. Africa, and she served as one of three advisors deployed to Middle East to support efforts in creating ADR program within multicultural context Through MBB Middle East Initiative. She successfully completed her studies in Advanced Cross Border Mediation (with an emphasis on the Hague) at the University of Miami, School of Law. Ms. Dabbagh has been involved in more than 1,200 cases of international child kidnapping, has served as a Daubert Qualified subject matter experts for courts across the USA in dozens of cases, and has successfully negotiated there return of both children and adult wrongfully removed or held across international borders.


Ms. Dabbagh’s background in international family conflict facilitated her entrance into peace building and conflict transformation. Certified & experienced in wide range of ADR areas including Crisis Negotiation, Interfaith conflict resolution, and more… her skills are supported with experience that includes data collection, analysis and presentation to various government bodies including the United Nations, Congress (International Relations), and others. She has had two books published to her credit through McFarland & Company, Inc. Ms. Dabbagh’s current work focuses on merging multiple ADR disciplines to meet the demand for cross trained professionals responding to today's unique global markets. Trainer/instructor. Peaceful Resolutions. Abduction Prevention, Specialties- Locating & repatriating individuals held across international borders.

Ms. Dabbagh resides in Virginia with her family. She enjoys gardening, reading, cooking, and travel. *Her own daughter was abducted at the age of two, and taken to the Middle East by her ex-husband in 1993. She had absolutely no contact with either until her daughter contacted her by telephone. She was 21 years old. Ms. Dabbagh flew to Syria and the two were re-introduced to each other.

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Introduction to Cross Border Family Medation (attached)

The Globalization of Family Mediation Founded in Children's Rights


Globalization of Family Mediation Rooted in Children’s Rights

(Downloadable for use with Presentation)


Cultural influences in Family Conflict: Family Mediation in a Multicultural Context

(Downloadable for use with Presentation)


The archive for the august webinar is now available for viewing. Simply click play on the video player above. Feel free to continue the conversation here with any questions or comments you may have.




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