International Child Abduction

For international families, if one parent wants to relocate with a child it is important that early advice is taken.

If you move to another country with your child, without the permission of everyone with parental responsibility, or permission of the court, then that is called child abduction.

If you keep your child in a country abroad for a longer period than has been agreed, for example on a longer holiday, then that is also a type of child abduction.

There are serious consequences for anyone who is found guilty of child abduction and steps can be take through the courts to bring the child back.

Although procedures are in place at English airports and ports to protect children from international child abduction, the ease with which we now travel around the world means that it can happen.  It is important that anybody affected by child abduction takes the earliest possible advice from a specialist solicitor.

I think my child is going to be taken overseas without my consent, what can I do?

It is important to act quickly to obtain a Prohibitive Steps Order to prevent the child’s removal and/or contact the police if you believe they are to leave imminently.

My child has been taken overseas without my consent, what can I do?

If you have Parental Responsibility and your child has been taken from England and Wales, there are legal steps you can take to recover them. To increase the chances of the child being successfully returned home, it may help to start legal proceedings in both countries. In this situation it is important to take early legal advice.

We live in more than one country, will this affect the case to have my child returned?

It is not uncommon for international families to have homes in more than one country if, for example, one parent has a job that requires them to spend time in different places. In these cases, it can be more difficult to establish where the child’s usual home is, but you should still be able to make the case that the child has a strong degree of integration into the social and family environment in the original country.

Is child abduction the same as kidnapping?

Child abduction is the legal term used to describe the unlawful removal of a child from their country of residence by someone connected to the child. It is distinct from kidnapping, which is abduction by a stranger, and should be dealt with by the police.

Legal Advice

For further advice, arrange a confidential meeting with one of our international child custody lawyers.  Call us on +44 (0)20 7993 2936 or click here to complete a contact form

Filed Under: Insight

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