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International Child Abduction

View profile for Katie Hall
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International child abduction – it may not mean what you think and it can affect any family.

When we consider the term ‘abduction’, our first thought is often not that the abduction may be by a parent of a child. It may be that one parent has removed the child from their home country without the consent of the other parent or a parent has taken their child abroad with the consent of the other parent but hasn’t returned them. Perhaps you are worried that the other parent may remove your child from your home country without your consent but hasn’t yet. Alternatively, are you the parent that has removed your child from their home country without the permission of the other parent?

These are all circumstances where the law surrounding international child abduction can help you answer the questions;

“Can I get my child back?”                   “How do I get my child back?

“Can I prevent the other parent from removing my child?”  

 “Will my children be ordered to return to their home country?”

When you need any one of the above questions answered, seek support and advice – immediately. Do not wait for something to happen if it hasn’t yet and do not wait to see whether they will be home next week. When seeking advice, it is important to know where you believe your child currently is, where your child may be taken to and whether the other parent has parental responsibility. This is important because the solicitor needs to determine what law you may need to rely on to secure the return of your child.

The UK is signed up to the Hague Convention which is an agreement with the other countries also signed up to work together for the return of the child to their home country. If the country that your child has been taken to is not signed up to the Hague Convention, then there are other instruments that may be relied upon. Under the Hague Convention, the Court must order a return. However, the Court has the power to not order a return if more than a year has passed and the child is settled in their new environment. There are also other factors that the Court can take into account and these include (but are not limited to) the wishes and feelings of the children depending on their age and maturity and if returning them would put them at grave risk of harm. Any decision made by the Court will be at their discretion and must be what is best for the child.

The law surrounding international child abduction and relocation cases is very complex which is why legal advice should be obtained at the earliest opportunity, any delay is likely to be significant on the return of the child. If you need help answering any of the questions posed here then get in touch with me.

Katie Hall

02392 660 261