At London Family Solicitor we have a team of family solicitors who specialise in the area of child abduction.
The Hague Convention on the Civil aspects of International Child Abduction is the principal international agreement that encompasses international parental child abduction. This provides a means by which a parent can look to have the child brought back to the country they left. There are currently 86 Members of the treaty. The Hague Convention controls which country has the jurisdiction to make a decision where the child lives and provides for the child to return to that country. If it is ordered for a child to return to the country where they came from there could still be further Court proceedings to decide if the parent should be granted permission to relocate in the future.
It is important to act early to prevent a child from being abducted if there is a strong risk this might happen. For example, an application could be made for a prohibited steps order to stop the child from being removed from the UK or for the passport of the child to be held to stop the travel of the child.
How to Prevent Child Abduction
If you do have a concern about a potential child abduction then you should aim to prevent this taking place:
- The passport of the child could be held by a Solicitor to stop the travel.
- You can inform the school or get a court order to state who should be collecting the child at the end of the school day.
- An order can be made to alert the port of a trip you think is about to take place to stop the child leaving the country.
- An order can be made for supervised contact if you feel that this is the only way contact can happen due to a child abduction threat.
- An order can be applied for to stop a parent applying for a new passport and then lodged at the relevant embassy that you would hope they would uphold and follow.
If the other parent has abducted the child, it is imperative that you take urgent action. The first step is to contact the Central Authority and complete their online application form. The matter will be passed to relevant country’s central authority and a child abduction Lawyer can then be appointed to act for you.
If you do discover where the child is living, we would strongly suggest that you do not act yourself and that you liaise directly with your Solicitor who can take the right steps. You do not want to be in a situation where the parent and the child leave again and go to a different country or location.
If it is alleged that you have abducted your child you should seek legal advice straight away as you may be committing a criminal offence. You do not want to be in a position where assets could be taken from you or you could be sent to prison.
What can we do to help you?
If there is no international agreement for where the child has been taken to we can help by making the child ward of court and obtaining advice from the country they are in to then make an application in that country to seek the return of the child.
We can help you whether the child abduction takes place internally or outside of England and Wales.
If you do not know where the child is located, it can still be possible to find the child. By requesting an order of the Court we can obtain information that can help to locate the child e.g. phone bills and bank statements. The Court can direct that the details of the child’s GP or DWP provide the address details for a party who is receiving benefits benefits. If the flight has already happened we could also request airline details from the air carrier which may produce important information to trace the child.
Resources that may be helpful for you:
Child Abduction Charities:
Reunite Prevention Guides:
We have the specialist knowledge to navigate you from the start to the end of your child abduction matter with accredited specialists who are members of the International Child Abduction and Contact Unit’s panel of specialist solicitors.
If you are concerned that the child is at risk of abduction or has been abducted, contact us and we can advise you and help plan a strategy for your case.