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Child Relocation & Abduction.


When someone (including the parent of your child) removes a child from their usual residence without proper consent or Court approval it may be an abduction.

It is important to act promptly and our team of child abduction lawyers can assist you in this process. There are also remedies in place for removal of a child within this jurisdiction (known as an internal abduction) which we can also assist you with if necessary.

You need to particularly consider the need for advice in any of these scenarios:

  1. You and your child wish to live abroad
  2. Your child has been taken abroad
  3. You are facing claim whereby it is alleged that you have abducted your child

Do you think you need legal help with child relocation or abduction?

Call the family law team to discuss your options

Telephone: +44 (0)20 7870 3877

or email: family@fletcherday.co.uk

Protections against child abduction

International treaties such as the 1980 Hague Convention on Child Abduction are in place between this country and over 100 other states (the number of signatories is regularly increasing). This makes is much easier to seek the return of a child and, as a general rule, the courts of reciprocating Hague Convention states will often order the return of abducted children.

Where the country is not a Hague Convention signatory it tends to be much harder to seek the return of a child but there are some conventions in place and reciprocal agreements depending on the jurisdiction concerned.

Internal child abduction is best dealt with by seeking emergency orders which can be dealt with at short-notice or emergency hearings.

Relocation of children after divorce or separation

If your partner will not consent to your taking your child abroad, and if you are not able to resolve the situation through direct discussions or mediation, you will need to consider making an application for leave to remove. Initially attempts should be made to resolve the position through preliminary negotiations which, where possible, avoid the need to go to court or settle the matter at an early hearing. However, the reality of the situation is that the courts are well equipped to deal with and rule on the issue of leaving the jurisdiction and we can help you make an appropriate application.

If you are considering relocating and it is clear one parent may not consent you should speak to us and ask about the process. You will need to articulate how the move is take place and how contact with what is known as the ‘left behind parent’ will work.

In addition to acting for parents who would like relocate we regularly act for the ‘left behind parent’ in any proposed relocation case and would be pleased to advise you if you find yourself in the same situation.

“The first object of the Convention is to deter either parent (or indeed anyone else) from taking the law into their own hands and pre-empting the result of any dispute between them about the future upbringing of their children.”

Judgment of Lady Hale and Lord Wilson in Re E (Children) [2011] UKSC 27 [8 – discussing the 1980 Hague Convention on Child Abduction]

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    FAQs
    My partner took my child abroad for a holiday but is now saying my child needs to stay with his family for longer and being vague about return dates, is this an abduction?

    As soon as your partner has exceeded an agreed stay abroad, he or she is abducting your child. You should promptly seek advice.

    My partner took my child to his place and now says they are too sick to return to me and will have to stay there, what can I do?

    If you are the main carer for your child, this will be treated as being internally abducted. You should not delay and seek advice about appropriate court orders for their return.

    My partner wants to take my child abroad to a country that has not signed any international conventions. I do not consent to this. What can I do?

    It is very important you act fast. You can apply for a type of Order known as a “Wardship Order” which allows your child to be made a “Ward of Court” in other words, the court can decide what happens and the court is immediately in charge of the process.