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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.

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