Most people associate the term “abduction” with kidnapping by a stranger, however in the majority of circumstances, if one parent removes a child from the country where they live without the other parent’s consent, that is child abduction.
It is very important to act quickly if you believe your child may have been abducted. If they have not left the country yet, it is possible to apply for emergency orders preventing the child from leaving the country. If they have left the country, or you believe your child has been taken to England, it is necessary to take urgent steps as you may be less likely to locate the child and resolve the case the longer you wait. There are also time limits in some cases therefore it is important to seek advice quickly.
Often, parents do not realise that their actions amount to child abduction. If you have been served with an application for your child to be returned to the country where you were living, it is very important to seek advice urgently as most child abduction cases will be heard very quickly and often conclude within 6 weeks.
The law relating to child abduction is complex. There are a number of international agreements that relate to child abduction, including The Hague Convention 1980 and EU law, such as Brussels II Revised. Depending on the country where the child was living or to where they have been taken, the applicable law will be different.
Child abduction cases are often emotionally difficult and very stressful. We can advise about all aspects of child abduction and we also aim to implement alternative dispute resolution wherever possible to resolve cases quickly and amicably. We can offer legal aid where eligible.