Child abduction

Child abduction is a serious criminal offence and can include taking a child abroad without the other parent’s consent (or without the consent of the court) or not returning a child from abroad after an agreed holiday.

If you believe that your ex is planning to abduct your child or has abducted your child,  it is vital that you act quickly.  Alongside taking urgent legal advice from a specialist, you should:

  • try to contact your ex and / or your child to find out where they are;
  • check where your child’s passport is
  • phone the police or go to your local police station to report your child as having been abducted or at the risk of being abducted.  The police may issue a Port Alert or try to find your ex

Child abduction is a very traumatic experience. However, there are legal procedures in place to ensure that the children are returned to the country they normally live in and for disputes between parents to be resolved properly.  

We understand the need to make child-centred decisions and are committed to reducing conflict wherever we can. However, we also understand the need to act quickly and assertively in cases where a child has been abducted.  Some of our recent work includes: 

  • advising a father whose young daughter was kept overseas following an agreed holiday. Although court proceedings are underway, we are supporting the father as the parents try to resolve their dispute through mediation with the aim of the child returning to England in time to start school
  • representing a mother in highly conflicted proceedings in the High Court where she was accused of abducting the couple's child to England 

Further reading

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