If you suspect that your child may be abducted, swift action is key. Please contact us immediately so we can commence appropriate steps.
When can a child be removed from England and Wales?
A child under 16 can only be removed lawfully when everyone who holds parental responsibility for the child consents.
If a residence order or a child arrangements order is in place, it is possible for the person named in the order to take the child out of the UK for up to one month without consent.
If you wish to take your child out of the country for a holiday, it is sensible to discuss your plans with any other holders of parental responsibility. If agreement cannot be reached, an application to the courts is possible.
If you wish to permanently move your child abroad, the consent of the other parent will be required. If the other parent objects, you may ask the court to look at the matter who will make a decision based on the welfare checklist, your proposals, the effect of you not being granted permission, the effect of lack of contact on the child, and the opportunity for continuing contact with your child and the parent remaining in England and Wales.
Remember, child abduction is a criminal offence, and parental child abductions are on the rise. If you have any concerns, please contact us immediately.
How can I prevent abduction?
There are a number of practical steps that you can take, and that we are able to assist with including:
- Surrender of a child or parents passport, either voluntarily or by court order
- Restricting contact
- Notifying the passport office to prevent the issue of passports
- A court order preventing removal of the child (a prohibited steps order)
- Through the port alert process
What can I do if my child has been abducted?
How to proceed depends upon the country to which the child has been taken. An urgent application to the courts in that country will be required. There are a number of conventions and protocols in place to protect and return children who have been abducted from the UK, and the starting principle is that the child will be returned to his or her home country, unless special circumstances apply.