Child Abduction Lawyers

UK International Child Abduction Lawyers 

Our UK based international child abduction lawyers can provide you with expert advice about your child abduction issues. Our offices are located in Manchester, London and Birmingham. Call our expert lawyers today on 0330 107 0107 or arrange a call back.

Understanding International Child Abduction

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International child abduction occurs when a parent or any other party removes a child from their country of habitual residence without the consent of all individuals with parental responsibility or without a court order. This act not only violates the rights of the left-behind parent but also poses potential harm and emotional trauma to the children involved. It is crucial for parents to seek legal advice promptly to prevent child abduction or secure the safe return of the child if they have already been taken abroad without consent.

Families With International Connections

Families with connections to more than one country often face additional problems in the event of a relationship break up and understandably, sometimes, one parent may decide that they want to return to their native country and take their child or children with them.

However, it should be noted that without receiving prior consent from the other parent or having permission from a Court, taking a child could be considered child abduction. This is considered to be a criminal act.

Arrangements For Children After Separation

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When couples separate, most of the arrangements regarding children can usually be resolved between the parents amicably.  However, in rare cases, the relationship between the parents may have broken down to such an extent that one parent feels compelled to abduct their child rather than risk losing them.

If you want to avoid proceedings relating to the possible abduction of your children, and want to ensure the best advice in taking the appropriate steps before travelling abroad with your child, such as obtaining a Specific Issue Order from the court, then get in touch today to speak with our multi-cultural family and children highly rated UK law team.

Our UK based team also acts for parents who have removed their children without the necessary consent.

What can be done to prevent your child being removed from England and wales without your consent

If your child is about to be or has been removed from England and Wales without your consent, it is crucial to take immediate action to prevent or resolve child abduction issues. First, contact the local police and provide them with all relevant details about your child, the person who took them, and their potential whereabouts. Report the situation to the Child Abduction Unit of the Foreign, Commonwealth, and Development Office (FCDO), which can provide guidance and support. Additionally, seek legal advice from a specialist family lawyer experienced in international child abduction cases. The Hague Convention on Child Abduction may apply, providing a framework for cooperation between countries to secure the return of abducted children. Swift and decisive action is essential to protect your child’s welfare and secure their safe return under UK law.

The Hague Convention and International Child Abduction

The Hague Convention is an international treaty designed to protect children from the harmful effects of international abduction by providing a framework for their prompt return to their country of habitual residence. The Convention has been ratified by over 100 countries, including the UK and the US, and provides a legal mechanism for the return of children who have been abducted from their home country.

Our team of lawyers is well-versed in the Hague Convention and other international laws and regulations governing child abduction cases. We can help you to prevent a threatened child abduction, advise you on when a parent may take a child to another country, and institute Hague Convention proceedings to get a child back to the United States and around the world. We can also defend against improperly-brought Hague Convention cases, and take urgent action to get a child back from a country that is not a party of the Hague Convention.

Contact Our Highly Rated UK Child Abduction Specialist Lawyers Today

If you are facing a child abduction issue, it is essential to seek expert legal advice as soon as possible. For professional legal advice about your child abduction matters, Contact our specialist family law team today or call us on: 0330 107 0107. Our offices are based in the UK and located in Manchester, London and Birmingham.

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Example of cases we have dealt with:

F v F - Acted for a German husband in a complex financial remedy matter. He decided to instruct IMD Solicitors after he had lost trust in his previously instructed solicitors and feared that he would not achieve a favourable outcome from the proceedings. The relevant assets were spread across the globe with some located in the UK (including a multi-million pound business), Gibraltar, Spain, Dubai, and Poland. The overall value of assets exceeded £24 million. The husband had been cut off from the matrimonial assets and excluded from control of the business that had been established by his family. The case involved the instruction of numerous experts, for business valuations, Capital Gains Tax reports, and opinions on the enforcement of orders in foreign jurisdictions, and dealing with several applications, including applications for orders to freeze assets, prevent the disposition of assets, for the joinder of parties, and to litigate conduct issues. The final result exceeded the client’s expectations.
L v L - We were instructed by a mother in a complex international children matter. She was required by orders of the UK courts to return the child to the UK from Poland. She had travelled with the child to Poland but, following unsuccessful application to extend her stay there in August 2017, she decided not to return to the UK because the child disclosed sexual abuse by a member of the paternal family and the father. In September 2018, the Polish court dismissed the father’s Hague Convention application for the child's return on the basis of Article 13(b), a decision which the father appealed. In March 2019, the father applied to the UK High Court for an order for the child’s return pursuant to the procedure set out in Article 11(6) – (8) of the Brussels IIA Regulation. Despite the father's unsuccessful Hague Convention application in Poland, the UK court ordered the return of the child. Article 11 does not allow the court of the returning country much discretion. After all of this, the mother instructed IMD Solicitors to apply to discharge the orders of the UK Court for the return of the child. Even in the face of the fact that most applications to discharge such return orders fail, we succeeded. We are currently awaiting a decision in the UK courts on a further application for the transfer of jurisdiction to the Polish courts where the mother resides with the child.
G v P - We represent a Spanish mother in respect of an urgent application for a Child Arrangements Order and Specific Issue Order in the UK seeking the relocation of the child to Spain. This was after the return of the child to the UK under Hague Convection proceedings which this mother lost in Spain. She was asking for an order for the relocation of the child back to Spain and an urgent interim Child Arrangements Order to allow her to see the child pending the final outcome of the UK proceedings. IMD successfully argued that, regardless of the return of the child to the UK under the Hague Convention, the mother should be allowed unsupervised overnight contact with the child. We were delighted to be able to secure her contact with the child for Christmas and she said that it was the best Christmas gift she could have wished for. The outcome of the application for the relocation is pending.
S v V - We currently represent the father in Child Arrangements Order proceedings issued by the mother in relation to variation of a UK order made in the face of numerous other international proceedings. He is an Italian National who has been living in France for the last 20 years and the mother is a Lithuanian national. The child is now 11 years old and proceedings concerning the child have been ongoing in various jurisdictions for the majority of the child`s life. Contested divorce proceedings including child arrangements took place in Monaco. The French Court and authorities were also involved, and various proceedings had been ongoing between parties since 2013 in France and Monaco. The parties’ divorce was pronounced in Monaco. Thereafter, in December 2020, the mother submitted an application to relocate to England with the child, and the relocation took place in June 2021. Upon relocation, the she lodged a child arrangement order application, seeking to register a judgment made in Monaco and to vary the same in respect of the contact arrangements between the father and the child. The father seeks for the child’s return to Monaco. Due to the parties’ mutual allegations and the associated international elements, various authorities and courts that have been involved in the case, the local authority has become involved with the family and a guardian has been instructed to represent the child in the UK proceedings. At present, these proceedings in England are ongoing and the outcome of the professional reports regarding the family are awaited.  
P v P - We have acted for the Respondent Husband in relation to the financial remedy proceedings in the UK. The parties had various assets in the UK and Romania consisting mainly of the portfolio of properties but conduct issues were raised by the Wife due to a business of the Husband over which she had lost control and her allegations of dissipation of assets. The value of assets excluding the business were in a region of £3 million. 
K v K - We act in financial remedy proceedings for a wife who is a Polish national. The matter's complexity mainly comes from a dispute between the parties around land in Poland. Its value was initially in dispute but was then assessed by a joint expert to be in the region of half a million pounds. The total assets in this case are estimated to be worth over £1 million. The land in Poland is a subject to contract with a third party and is being leased as a photovoltaic (solar) farm. The division of the land to achieve an equal share of the assets is complicated due to the contract in place and plans for the future use of the land. Currently the parties are awaiting a final hearing but efforts are being made to reach a settlement with the aid of alternative dispute resolution and in order to save the parties money and avoid further delays.
R v O - We acted pro bono and worked together with a law firm in Poland to ensure that the Costa Rican Mother regains access to her child. The Mother's only child was abducted from the UK in 2014. The Mother was successful with the abduction case and the UK family courts ordered the return of the child. The orders were recognised in Poland but unfortunately due to various issues with the Mother's immigration status and court's delays in Poland, the orders were never enforced. The Mother was facing removal from the UK and prospects of never seeing her child again. We have corresponded with various courts in Poland dealing with international abduction matters and we decided that an application for contact should be issued rather than any proceedings for further enforcement of the orders, as the Mother had not seen the child for around 7 years. At the same we secured the Mother's stay in the UK making successful outside of immigration rules application to extend her stay. We now receive regular photos from the Mother with her daughter, as face to face contact is taking place. We helped to secure an order of the Polish courts for the Mother to see the child regularly in person, whilst when she instructed us she was facing a prospect of never seeing her child again and being deported to Costa Rica.

Awards and Accreditations

Advice Centre

Apr 2024

Family Law Across Borders: A Case of Protection and Perseverance

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