In the majority of cases, child abduction is the removal of a child from one country to another or the wrongful retention of a child after a holiday or a contact period. An abduction usually occurs after the breakdown of a relationship and it is becoming ever more common due to the increase in people from different countries entering into relationships and having children together.
The Hague Convention decides which country has jurisdiction to decide where the child should live and therefore the country where the child was habitually resident and then for the return of the child to that respective country. It’s aim was that a child removed or retained across a border without the consent of all of those people who have the right to care for the child, should be returned to the country of his/her habitual residence in order for the courts to determine the child’s future.
Each country which is party to the convention has a ‘Central Authority’ which is bound to send and receive requests for the return of a child and to deal with any enforcement orders that are made. The Central Authority will also be able to liaise with law enforcement authorities as well as keeping you up to date with the progress of your application and trace the whereabouts of the child.
If you are the parent who has become aware that your child has already left the country, you should seek legal advice as soon as possible so that an emergency application to court can be made in order to put in place some emergency measures. A further court hearing would then be listed where the other parent would be ordered to attend and evidence to be submitted accordingly.
If you would like more information, speak to our Family Law Solicitor, Louisa Gothard on 020 7998 7777 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.