What is Child Abduction?
Child Abduction is the unauthorised removal of a child from the care of the person with whom they normally live or the threat of such a removal. If your child is taken abroad without your permission this amounts to child abduction and you should seek immediate advice from a specialist family solicitor to ascertain what steps you need to take. This also applies to your current or ex-partner or their other parent. If there is a risk that your ex-partner may take your child out of the jurisdiction without your permission you should also seek advice so that preventative measures can be put in place.
The police have the power to arrest anybody whom they reasonably suspect of committing the offence of chold abduction. If the police are notified that an attempt may be made to remove a child unlawfully from the United Kingdom, they can notify all other forces and immigration officers of the child’s details via the ‘Port Alert’ system.
If a child under the age of 16 is abducted from outside the United Kingdom and taken to another country, the legal options are more complicated. The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction came into force in 1980 to ensure the prompt return of children who have been abducted from their country of habitual residence or wrongfully retained in a ratified state not their country of habitual residence.
The Convention preserves whatever status quo child custody arrangement existed immediately before an alleged abduction or retention, thereby deterring a parent from crossing international boundaries in search of a more sympathetic court. The terms do not apply in non-ratified countries, however as of October 2011 86 States were party to the Convention.
Our specialist team of family and divorce solicitors have considerable experience in recovering children who have been abducted from the United Kingdom and taken to other countries. Whatever the circumstances, consult our specialist family law team to discuss your legal options.
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