International Family Law UK

Child Abduction

Child Abduction is a legal term used when a child is taken to a country or kept in a country, when this is in breach of another person’s “rights of custody”.

The Hague Convention protects the rights of custody of carers for children who are taken and not returned to the country in which they are habitually resident. England and Wales is a signatory to the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, together with over 80 other countries around the world including all EU member countries.  If the abduction takes place within the EU (not Denmark), then EU law will be applicable to your situation.

A child may be abducted into or out of England and Wales.  In a successful application for the return of an abducted child, the child will be returned to their home country.  The courts in England and Wales will not decide where the child should live when returned, or how much time they should spend with each parent.  This will be a decision for the country in which the child usually lives.

These cases are dealt with by the High Court in London, and the court has extensive powers to locate the abducted child, retain passports, tag the abducting parent and arrange for the return of the child to their usual country of residence.

If you believe that your partner is considering abducting your children either into or out of England and Wales, contact us for urgent legal advice.

If you are considering returning to your home country with your child, consider carefully whether this may breach the rights of custody of any other carers of the child.  If so, you may be committing child abduction.  Contact us before taking this step.

Legal Aid is available to cover the cost of making a Hague Convention application.

A child may be abducted into or out of England and Wales.  In a successful application for the return of an abducted child, the child will be returned to their home country.

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