What is child abduction?
Following the breakdown of a relationship, one of the most difficult decisions to be made is where your child should live. This decision is made all the more difficult if one parent wishes to live in another country with the child.
It is important that decisions about which country a child should live in is made jointly with both parents. If a parent takes matters into their own hands and takes the child abroad without the consent of the other parent, they may be committing a criminal offence of child abduction.
My child has been kept abroad what can I do?
It is important that you act quickly if you suspect that your child is about to be abducted or has been abducted.
- Contact the police and seek advice from a specialist family solicitor immediately. Do not delay.
- Ensure the solicitor has a experience of child abduction. Reunite has a list of child abduction specialists.
- When you make the appointment ensure that you mention that there has been a child abduction which should trigger an immediate response.
- Bring with you to your appointment recent photographs of the child, photographs of the adult that has taken them and a full description of what they look like.
- Bring details of the child’s passport if possible.
- Bring with you details about the location that you think the child may have been taken to, including country, area and address and telephone numbers if possible.
- Are there any other people who may have knowledge of the childs whereabouts.
- Do not at any time say anything that may be interpreted as you agreeing to the child remaining for any period of time outside of the United kingdom.
I do not want to return my child, what should I do?
It is important to make an appointment with a solicitor to seek urgent specialist legal advice. In certain limited circumstances the court may agree that the child can remain in the UK. This is however very dependent on the circumstances of each individual case and it is important that you obtain urgent legal advice so that we can advise as to whether there are any grounds that we could argue that the child should remain.
We can also help if a child has been brought to the UK without your permission.
There are several different funding options available, depending upon the circumstances and whether the child has been brought into the UK or has been taken out of the UK. Funding will also be determined by whether the other country involved is a signatory of the Hague Convention.
I am worried my child is going to be abducted, what shall I do?
There are a number of steps we can take, including obtaining a court order, preventing a passport being issued and in certain urgent circumstances issuing a Port Alert. It is vitally important to obtain urgent legal advice.