Contact Slater and Gordon Lawyers for an initial consultation about child abduction issues. Call our expert team of Child Abduction Solicitors 24 hours 7 days a week on freephone 0808 175 8000 or contact us online.
At Slater and Gordon our team of Child Abduction Solicitors can help with all Child Law matters including abducting a child or children either from the UK or overseas. Our Solicitors are experts in all forms of child abduction cases and will work with you to resolve your child abduction situation.
Our team includes expert International Child Abduction Lawyers that can help when child abduction crosses an international boarder; which has become increasingly common as it's so easy to travel.
Our Child Abduction Solicitors offer flexible pricing or fixed fees for Family Law and Children Law services, and can provide immediate legal representation in England & Wales.
The expression “Child Abduction” conjures up images of a child being snatched off the street, in other words, a kidnapping. It has a different meaning in disputes between parents. “Child Abduction” in this setting means one parent taking or keeping a child abroad without the consent of the other parent or the permission of a Court.
For example, if a separated family ordinarily lives in England or Wales, and the mother takes the children out of England or Wales (even temporarily) without the father’s permission, she might have abducted the children; although not if she has a Residence Order and is away for less than a month.
International Child Abduction is not a new phenomenon as a case of child abduction was documented on the Titanic! However, it's more prominent nowadays due to the ease and inexpensiveness of international travel, the increase in bi-cultural marriages and a high rate of people separating. Because it is an international issue, child abduction is addressed at that level also. There are a number of International Treaties, agreements and understandings that apply to child abduction situations. Whether they apply to a particular situation usually depends on where the children affected have been taken from and to.
One of the better known international arrangements is the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. This Convention, which operates between some eighty plus countries, defines what constitutes abduction. It identifies that the default outcome to child abduction situations is usually the return of the children to the country where they were previously living.
It also specifies the limited arguments a parent can use to try to achieve an outcome other than the default one. Within the EU Membership, there are particular rules regarding child abduction situations and how Courts must respond to those. There are also less formal arrangements such as Protocols, Declarations, Understandings, etc. which are designed to address child abduction situations. The UK has entered into a Protocol on Child Abduction issues with Pakistan, and a Declaration with Egypt.
Beyond the civil arrangements in place to address child abduction situations, child abduction might also have criminal consequences. There are some circumstances where it is a crime to take or send a child out of the UK. This is a serious matter and the penalties are significant. This is true even if the removal of a child/children is only for a short holiday.
The Law and procedure relating to abduction is complex, and cases develop extremely quickly. Expert legal advice is crucial early, whether you are the person responding to the child abduction, or the parent who has, however innocently, taken a child out of the UK without the required permission. We deal with incoming (cases where the children are brought into England) and outgoing (cases where the children are taken away from England) abduction situations.
Mediation and the other forms of Alternative Dispute Resolution that separating parents utilise are becoming increasingly popular to resolve child abduction situations.
Child abduction is an area where pre-emptive steps can prove crucial, and are usually far more effective, and cost-effective, than trying to address the abduction after it's already happened. If you fear an abduction is about to take place, then speed is of the essence. Courts will make Prohibited Steps Orders and other directions, if necessary with no notice to the other party, to ensure a child/children are not taken overseas without permission.
For more detailed information read our legal advice guide about Child Abduction which you can download and print.
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