If a parent or guardian takes or sends a child outside of the United Kingdom without the consent of the other parent who has parental responsibility (or other appropriate consent) it is a criminal offence of Child Abduction under Section 1 of the Child Abduction Act 1984, unless:
- That parent has a residence order in their favour and the removal is for less than one month.
- That parent has leave of the court to remove the child from the jurisdiction.
- That parent genuinely believes that he has the appropriate consent, or that the appropriate consent would be given if all the relevant circumstances were known to the other parent.
- That parent has taken all reasonable steps to communicate with the other parent to obtain the appropriate consent.
- The other parent has unreasonably refused to consent and the removal is not in breach of a court order.
If your child has been abducted, or you are concerned that your child will be abducted it is essential that immediate steps are taken to prevent the abduction, or alternatively to return the child to the jurisdiction. Any delay may prevent or significantly delay the return of the child. As this is a complex area of law, specialist advice should be sought from a solicitor immediately.
If you have any concerns about child abduction please contact us immediately for a free initial consultation on 023 8071 3060 (Southampton) or 01962 670510 (Alresford nr Winchester).