Child abduction

Providing international family law expertise

Guiding you through this complex process

Our team is recognised on a national and international level for its track record in managing cases of parental child abduction. This can encompass scenarios including situations where children are wrongfully removed from England & Wales and unlawfully retained in a different jurisdiction, or instances where children are wrongfully removed from another jurisdiction to England & Wales and unlawfully retained. Swift action is needed in child abduction cases, and seeking skilled international family law guidance is crucial.

Our standing in this area sees us succeeding with most complex cases. We achieve a consistently high success rate in international child abduction cases in countries which are inside the Hague convention as well as Non-Hague countries which do not operate within the Hague Convention. 

We have experience in liaising with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office when children are removed from the jurisdiction, and with the Home Office in relation to issues and cases surrounding the nationality of children and disputes arising from the international aspects of these types of cases. We are adept at communicating and negotiating with officials in other countries, and with police forces and politicians at the highest level at home and abroad.

How can I prevent child abduction?

If you are concerned that your child is at risk of being abducted there are a range of things you can do. Some of these are purely practical, such as being aware of the warning signs. They include odd behaviour from an ex-partner, requesting documentation such as passports etc not usually in their possession or gathering important information. There are legal steps you can consider such as applying for specific court orders. 

They include a Prohibited Steps Order which can be made prohibiting the other parent from removing your child from this jurisdiction. You can also apply for a Child Arrangements Order which clearly sets out the “custody rights” that each parent should be exercising. This is very useful if there is an abduction as you can show that you had custody rights that have been affected. Ensuring that you have parental responsibility for your child will greatly assist in any legal application to prevent an abduction, or any emergency action through the police. 

What do I do if my child has been abducted?

If an abduction has taken place or a child has not been returned from a period of spending time with the other parent in accordance with a prior agreement or court order, there are legal steps that can be taken to make sure that the child is returned to its country of habitual residence. The procedures depend on the country to which the child has been taken or retained. It is very important to obtain immediate advice from experts in this complex area about the situation.

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    May 16, 2019

    New developments in Elsa Salama abduction case

    August 24, 2018

    At the forefront of international child abduction cases – Kate Banerjee

    August 31, 2017

    Tell-tale signs and tips to help prevent your child being abducted

    May 27, 2016

    Why you should never take the law into your own hands over child abduction