Parental Child Abduction – Legal Requirements When Taking a Child Abroad

Summer is here, which means one thing – holidays.  It is important for separated families to make sure holiday plans are always firmly agreed to avoid any problems. This is particularly relevant due to statistics which report increases in children being abducted.

In the event that separated families cannot reach an agreement there is now a requirement to attend mediation in an attempt to resolve matters before issuing an application to the court.   Dependant on the time available the court will list a hearing, sometimes at short notice to hear everyone’s views.

The current position is that in the event a child is taken out of the jurisdiction of England and Wales without the permission of anyone with parental responsibility, this could be considered as child abduction.  Any party who has parental responsibility either as a result of being a married parent or having a child arrangements order with the child living with them should be notified of the intended holiday

If it is proposed that the child is to be taken to a country which is not a signatory to the Hague Convention 1980*, the court will apply the utmost vigilance and assess the risk of the order being breached and potential consequences of such a breach.  The court has a duty to incorporate all available protective mechanisms within a formal order to ensure that there is no risk that the child will not be returned at the end of the holiday.

So when packing the suitcases, checking tickets and passports also check that you also have permission to avoid concerns of abduction.

If you need any advice or assistance in relation to this article please contact our Family Solicitors by telephone on 0800 037 4628 or send an enquiry using the contact form.

*Below are a full list of the 76 member states of the Hague Convention 1980 which has developed and serviced conventions which includes laws on the international protection of children and child abduction.

Albania

Argentina

Australia

Austria

Belarus

Belgium

Bosnia and Herzegovina

Brazil

Bulgaria

Burkina Faso

Canada

Chile

China, People’s Republic of

Costa Rica

Croatia

Cyprus

Czech Republic

Denmark

Ecuador

Egypt

Estonia

European Union

Finland

France

Georgia

Germany

Greece

Hungary

Iceland

India

Ireland

Israel

Italy

Japan

Jordan

Korea, Republic of

Latvia

Lithuania

Luxembourg

Malaysia

Malta

Mauritius

Mexico

Monaco

Montenegro

Morocco

Netherlands

New Zealand

Norway

Panama

Paraguay

Peru

Philippines

Poland

Portugal

Romania

Russian Federation

Serbia

Singapore

Slovakia

Slovenia

South Africa

Spain

Sri Lanka

Suriname

Sweden

Switzerland

The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia

Turkey

Ukraine

United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland

United States of America

Uruguay

Venezuela

Viet Nam

Zambia

http://www.hcch.net/index_en.php?act=states.listing

Gill Carr

About Gill Carr

Gill Carr is an Associate Solicitor within the Family department at Forbes Solicitors. Gill’s blogs cover his specialisms of child protection, acting for both parents and children together with family members. Gill also advises and comments upon forced marriage, divorce, separation, child arrangements and financial matters. Gill writes about current legislation and case law relating to family law.

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