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Child abduction is not the same as kidnapping. Kidnapping applies where a stranger takes the child and child abduction applies where the child is taken by the other parent, to another country without prior consent.

If you are concerned that there is a risk that your child may be taken unlawfully from the UK, you should seek advice before it is too late. There are steps that we can take to avoid the child being take which include applying for a Prohibited Steps Order (which is an order preventing the other parent from doing a certain thing). Port Alerts can also be sought and orders obtained requiring the other parent to surrender their passport, and the passport of the child. This can be done without alerting the other party.

If your child has been taken to a country within the European Union, a country that has signed up to the Hague Convention or that has entered into an agreement with the UK, we can liaise with the appropriate organisations including the International Child Abduction and Contact Unit to seek that your child is returned. Further, declarations can be sought from the High Court that the removal from the UK was wrongful.

The Hague Convention defines what constitutes abduction and this can be used to seek an order for the child to be returned to the UK from the member state which they have been removed. Child Abduction is a criminal offence and anyone found guilty of child abduction can expect criminal proceedings including fine, penalties and imprisonment.     We therefore suggest if you do wish to relocate to another country with your children, you must seek consent to do so. If consent cannot be agreed, an application can be made for a Specific Issue Order as to whether relocation can take place.   We can help you come to an arrangement and put the relevant order in place.

This is a very complex area of law because it works across different jurisdictions and you should seek advice as soon as you feel there may be a risk.

He's got to keep a roof over our heads hasn't he?

Non-residential parents have to pay maintenance for their children; hopefully the amount can be agreed though negotiation and if not then the CSA will decide. Each case is different.   If for example the Mum and the children stay in the family home then she may relinquish her claims over any other assets such as pension and savings in return.

How soon can I file for Divorce?

There is a 12 month barring rule which means you can start the divorce process after being married for 1 year. In England you can get divorced if your marriage has broken down irretrivably, usually proved by allegations of adultery or unreasonable behaviour, or if there has been 2 years' of continously living apart.

My aunt only has one bank account. Can I deal with this on her behalf?

If the bank allows, it is possible for your aunt to name you as a third party on her bank account. This will allow you to withdraw funds and sign cheques on her behalf. We can help your aunt complete the mandate form required to put this in place.

What am I entitled to in a divorce? Can she take me for every penny?

No.  Sometimes it may feel as though this has happened. The aim when sharing out matrimonial assets is to be fair.  Both spouses have to make full disclosure about their assets and debts before any decisions can be made about distribution, trying to hide anything won't work.  Factors which are important when sharing out the assets include the current and future needs of each spouse and any dependent children; the length of marriage and the age, earning capacity and contributions of each party.

Will I lose touch with my children?

Your aim should be that both parents still play an active part in the raising of the child/children.  Usually parents sort this out amongst themselves, although if there are problems mediation can be a good way to resolve this.  Going to Court should always be the last resort where children are involved.

Will we have to go to Court during our divorce?

No, getting a divorce should be an administrative excersise only and there are many options open to you that avoid going to Court.

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