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Child Abduction Solicitors

RVS is a firm with an international focus in both family and immigration law.  As such, we have particular expertise in all aspects of child abduction, from preventing potential child abductions, to representing the left-behind parent and getting the child returned, and defending parents accused of child abduction.

Child abduction cases are complex, involving law enforcement and social care agencies abroad.  A Solicitor proficient in child abduction cases must also understand international treaties and foreign law and be able to work effectively with overseas lawyers.  Our co-director and head of the family, Rakhi Singal, is well-recognized as an expert in children’s law. In cases of child abduction, she will work closely with foreign agencies, lawyers, and Courts to ensure the welfare of your child is paramount at all times.  Our family law team will fight tenaciously to ensure your child is returned to their country of habitual residence. Also, we can put in place emergency injunctions to prevent a possible abduction happening in the first place.

Our experts in Family Law

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQS)

Parental child abduction is where one parent takes a child out of their country of habitual residence without the permission of others with parental responsibility for that child or the Courts.

The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction (The Hague Convention) is a multilateral treaty that provides a swift method to return a child internationally abducted by a parent from one-member country to another.

The Hague Convention applies to children under 16 years.  Its primary objective is to restore the custody arrangements made before the wrongful removal of the child.  It does not provide jurisdiction for the Court to decide on child arrangement issues. Instead, it provides that the Court order the child returned to their home country if it is proved they were removed illegally.

If your child is taken to a country within the EU (with the exception of Denmark), ‘Brussels II bis’, a European Union Regulation will apply.

The Hague Convention does not define ‘habitual residence’.  It is not a technical term; it is simply the place where the child normally resides.  The Court will look at the facts of the child’s life when deciding their habitual residence, such as where they go to school, where their doctor is based, whether they are involved in the community etc.

There are several defences available to the Hague Convention, including:

  1. The child objects to being returned.
  2. There is a risk of physical or mental harm to the child.
  3. The child was removed with consent.
  4. The person removing the child was not exercising any custody rights at the time of the alleged abduction.

The child’s habitual residence can also be challenged.

Our multi-lingual Solicitors will work with top barristers to build a strong defence if you are accused of child abduction. The Court will be focused on the child’s welfare only. Therefore it is critical that you receive experienced advice to have a chance of persuading the Court the child should not be returned to their country of habitual residence.

If you suspect your child is at risk of being abducted, contact us immediately. We can apply for a Child Arrangement Order or Prohibited Steps Order to prevent your child from being removed unless certain conditions are met. A Prohibited Steps Order can also prevent your child from being issued with a passport. In serious situations, we can apply to make the child a Ward of the Court.

Also, the police can put out a Port Alert if you suspect your child is going to be taken overseas without your permission in the next 48 hours. This will alert all points of departure from the UK to look out for your child and prevent them from leaving the country.

Many countries, including China, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, and Guyana are not subject to the Hague Convention and lack legal provisions which guard against international parental abduction. If your child has been taken to a non-Hague Convention country, our Solicitors will work with lawyers, authorities, and child welfare agencies in both the UK and the country the child has been taken to facilitate the child’s safe return.

We understand the emotional turmoil, fear, and stress surrounding child abduction. Rakhi and her team will ensure they are available to you and keep you fully informed at every stage of the process. We will hold your hand the entire way, ensuring your child is protected, and his or her welfare is paramount at all times.

To find out how we 020 3372 5125 or complete our online enquiry form to make an appointment.

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