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Child Abduction & Moving Abroad with Children

Child Abduction

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 on 023 8071 3060

Moving Abroad with Children

If you are planning to move abroad with your children to live permanently you must ensure that you have the consent of the other parent who has parental responsibility.  If you do not have their consent then an order for leave to remove the children from the jurisdiction of England & Wales should be sought from the court to ensure that you are not committing an offence of child abduction.

It is important that any such application on behalf of the children is prepared thoroughly as you are only likely to get one chance to make the application.  As such applications require specialist advice and representation and a detailed plan for the future of the family should be formulated, to include:

  • Details of specific schools and future education for the children.
  • Details of where the family will live and how any property purchase or rental is to be funded.
  • Details of work and long-term career opportunities and how the family will be supported financially.
  • Details of any relevant visa requirements and how any language barriers will be overcome.
  • How the effect of the change in circumstances will be managed, and how the move will ultimately benefit the children in the longer term.
  • Details of the proposed contact between the children and the absent parent, and how any flights are to be funded.
  • How the children feel about any proposed move and their views, in light of their age and understanding.
  • A plan for what will happen if the relocation does not work out as planned.

For specialist advice in all areas of Family Law, please call us on 02380 713 060, or email for a fixed fee consultation.

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