Child Abduction

It is imperative that anyone that is taking a child abroad has the consent of everyone with parental responsibility.

The only exception is if the parent taking the child abroad has a “lives with” order or “residence” order in place. This parent will then have the ability to take the child abroad for up to 4 weeks.

If a parent takes a child to a different jurisdiction without the consent of another parent, if they retain the child in a different jurisdiction, for example, following a period of holiday, that will be considered Child Abduction. If this occurs, the left-behind parent will then be entitled to make an application to the court for the return of the child to the country where the child is habitually resident.

Our solicitors can advise you in cases regarding a child that is habitually resident in England and Wales having been taken to a different jurisdiction, or a child that resides in another country that has been wrongfully removed or retained in England.

This area of law is governed by various international conventions and regulations. It is an extremely complex area of law, and it is therefore very important that advice is obtained from a solicitor specialised in child abduction, not from a general family lawyer. This advice also needs to be obtained as soon as possible, and action needs to be taken as promptly and efficiently as possible.

If you have been accused of child abduction, you will also need to obtain legal advice from a specialist solicitor as promptly as possible.

Equally, if a parent is concerned that a child may be removed from England and Wales without their consent, they will be able to make an urgent application for protective measures to be put in place. Those applications will take precedent in the courts and can be prepared at a very short notice.

The Inherent Jurisdiction is an overarching protective jurisdiction that the High Court holds in relation to children that live in this Jurisdiction, and it is often used in children proceedings with an international element, and more particularly when a child has been removed to another jurisdiction. The court will have the power to make a child “ward of court”. This will give the High Court overall parental responsibility for the child.

Our solicitors are recommended by Reunite, the leading UK charity specialising in the international movement of children and will be able to advice you on how to prevent a potential abduction, or in abduction proceedings.

If your child has been removed from to another Jurisdiction without your consent, are concerned that they may be removed; or if you have been accused of abducting your child then please call us in complete confidence on 020 8290 7341 or 020 8290 0333 to make an appointment. If you are concerned that your child may be at risk of being removed from the country imminently, please contact us on our out of hours number on +44 (0) 7732686227. If we do not respond the call, please leave a message and we will return your call shortly.

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