Ecuador: Family Law

Country Summary: The Convention has been in force between the United States and Ecuador since 1992. In 2020, Ecuador demonstrated a pattern of noncompliance. Specifically, the Ecuadorian judicial authorities failed to regularly implement and comply with the provisions of the Convention. As a result of this failure, 17 percent of requests for the return of abducted children under the Convention remained unresolved for more than 12 months. On average, these cases were unresolved for one year and three months. Ecuador was previously cited for demonstrating a pattern of noncompliance in the 2015-2020 Annual Reports.

Initial Inquiries: In 2020, the Department received six initial inquiries from parents regarding possible abductions to Ecuador for which no completed applications were submitted to the Department.

Significant Developments: In 2020, the National Court of Justice (NCJ) and the Ecuadorian Central Authority (ECA) held virtual trainings for judges in Ecuador to discuss Convention best practices. The Ecuadorian Hague Network Judge collaborated with the NCJ on the text of a legislative change to the Children's Code that the ECA reports will provide a procedural roadmap for resolving Convention cases in the courts. The ECA also formulated a new administrative framework for international parental child abduction cases and presented the framework to the Ecuadorian National Assembly to reform their Children's Code.

Central Authority: The U.S. and Ecuadorian Central Authorities have a strong and productive relationship that facilitates the resolution of abduction cases under the Convention.

Location: The competent authorities took appropriate steps to locate a child after a Convention application was filed. The average time to locate a child was three and a half months.

Judicial Authorities: There were serious delays by the Ecuadorian judicial authorities in deciding one Convention case. As a result, cases may be pending with the judiciary for over one year, contributing to a pattern of noncompliance. All cases resolved in less than a year did not involve judicial decisions.

Enforcement: The United States is not aware of any abduction cases in which a judicial order relating to international parental child abduction needed to be enforced by the Ecuadorian authorities.

Department Recommendations: The Department will continue its engagement with Ecuadorian authorities to address issues of concern.

Providing wise and experienced legal counsel to international families for many years

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