Child Abduction

As the need for relocation becomes more frequent the Courts are increasingly being asked by parents for permission to remove their child or children, from the jurisdiction of England & Wales to allow them to live elsewhere. This is especially topical to families of mixed nationality.

This is a very complex area of law and one that deals with a particularly emotional subject, especially as it may result in a parent and child being parted.

Here are some frequently asked questions:

I want to move abroad with my child; do I have to tell the child's father?

If you hold a Residence Order for your child, you may take your child out of England & Wales for a temporary period e.g. a holiday of less than 30 days. However if you wanted to relocate permanently, you must either:-

  1. Obtain the written consent of every person who has Parental Responsibility for the child; or,
  2. Apply to the Court for an order permitting you to remove the child.

What must I do if an application to the Court is necessary?

If an application is necessary we would recommend that you book an appointment to come in and see one of our solicitors for some detailed advice specifically relating to your circumstances. It may be that we have to refer you to mediation before applying to court.

What if I take my child out of the country without permission?

If a child is taken out of the UK, without the agreement from everyone who has parental responsibility or pursuant to a Court Order, this is likely to be considered as "child abduction". The parent that has remained here or person with Parental Responsibility may decide to apply to Court to have the child returned to the UK.

If the country where you have taken the child to is party to the Hague Convention then the child will be returned to their country of residence. If the country where the child was taken has not signed the Hague Convention then any application for return, will need to be dealt with in that country's court system.

Need Help?

We strongly recommend that you take advice about this serious and complicated issue before taking any steps to leave the country.