Expert child abduction solicitors for complex family situations
If there is a court order in place determining that a child lives with one parent and spends time with another, then taking a child out of the country for more than 4 weeks at a time, without the permission of both parents, can be regarded as child abduction from a legal perspective.
Representing parents on both sides of this stressful and complex situation, we have been able to provide positive outcomes for our clients as the number of child abduction continues to rise. Often seeking permission to remove the child out of he country, beforehand, is a way to avoid child abductions proceedings (which can see the court order the immediate / swift return of a child to England pending urgent court hearings).
Take legal advice early to avoid unnecessary and avoidable stress.
Do I need to engage the services of a child abduction solicitor?
Child abduction occurs when a child is taken out of the country without the express permission of both parents. This can also applies to holidays without the consent of one of the parents.
The only exception to this rule is when the parent with whom the child lives with (and who has that arrangement confirmed in a formal court order) takes a child or children out of the country for a holiday lasting no longer than one month before returning home to the UK.
If you are found guilty of child abduction under the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, you can expect steep penalties, including fines and imprisonment, so it is advised that you seek the advice of a child abduction solicitor before leaving the country with your child.
With greater freedom of movement and people from different countries becoming parents, having the relationship breakdown and then wanting to return home with their child or children, the number of child abductions is unfortunately on the rise.
How can a child abduction solicitor help me?
If a relationship has broken down beyond repair and one parent wishes to return to their country of origin with the child or has already done so, a child abduction solicitor can help in the following ways:
• Open up a channel for mediation between the parents to help resolve the issue
• Advise on the legal implications of leaving the UK with the child without the consent of the other parent
• Help seek a court order to prevent the child from leaving the UK
• Gain a Prohibited Steps Order in court to pre-empt child abduction if necessary
• Apply for a court order granting permission to leave the country for a specified period of time.
If your child has been taken out of the country without your consent, contact the National Legal Service to speak to one of our child abduction solicitors.
Child Abduction FAQ’s
What do I do if my child has been abducted?
Seek immediate advice from the police and legal advice as to the steps involved in applying to have the safe return of children to your care. It can be a very long process and time is of the essence and you should not delay in seeking advice.
Can I prevent child abduction?
If you have genuine fears of potential child abduction, you could consider applying to the court for a prohibited steps order (PSO) but you will need to have “gateway evidence” as per regulations 33 and 34 of LASPO to be eligible for legal aid. You may be able to agree a fixed fee / private rates with our specialist team if legal aid is not available.
It can be easier to prevent child abduction rather than trying to go to the courts to get a child returned back to a country of primary/usual residence. If you have parental responsibility and are worried that your child may be abducted by their other parent, we can apply to the court for a Prohibited Steps Order (PSO). This will prevent the child’s other parent from taking the child out of the country without your permission or order of the court.
How Can I legally move abroad with my child?
You would need the consent of your ex partner (any person with parental responsibility) and if that is not obtained, you will need to make an application to the court for permission to relocate.
How can I fund my International Child Abduction case?
Legal aid funding can be available for cases involving child protection and child abduction subject to some means and merits assessments. In contract to PSO applications, you do not need “gateway evidence” when there is international child abduction at issue. You will need to speak to us about your eligibility to receive legal aid in these circumstances.