Family & Matrimonial | Abduction

If a child is taken out of the UK by a parent without the agreement of the other parent or a Court Order, the parent who is left behind may be able to apply to the court in the country where the child has been taken for an Order that the child be returned.


Numerous factors would be taken into account, such as whether the removal is permanent, the age of the child, whether or not there are any Court Orders, where the child has gone, and where he or she has come from, how long the child has lived in that country, whether the child is at risk, and what are the child’s wishes.

The UK is party to a number of conventions, the purpose of which is to try to ensure that the court returns the child to the place of his or her habitual residence, and the court in that country should determine where the child should live.

If there is no specific agreement between the UK and the country to which the child has gone, it is important to establish what parental rights are under the local law and what procedures are in the country. If necessary, foreign lawyers of that country will need to be instructed.

Prevention is better than the cure and if therefore there is a concern about a child being removed from the UK, it is essential that early advice is sought and the appropriate steps taken to prevent it.

The court can grant an Order preventing the removal either permanently or temporarily. In addition, the Passport Agency must be notified to ensure that a duplicate passport is not issued, and further, if the threat of removal is real and imminent, the local police must be alerted and an "All Ports" stop put in place.



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