Globalisation, the travel boom and many other factors besides have resulted in an ever increasing number of international marriages involving UK nationals and this in turn has meant that family lawyers across the country are being asked to represent clients involved in cross-border family law disputes.
Sadly, one of the more disturbing aspects of transnational relationships is the rising incidence of international child abduction – where one parent takes the children out of the UK without the other parent’s consent, or refuses to return them to the UK.
If you feel your child is at risk of being abducted, it is essential that you seek advice quickly and George Ide’s family law solicitors in Sussex can be on your side to help during this stressful and challenging time. Likewise, if your children have been removed from the country without your consent, or you are being denied contact with your child while they are out of the country, our solicitors can advise you as to your rights and help you fight to get your children back.
The Child Abduction Act 1984 (the Act), states that is a criminal offence for a parent to remove a child (under the age of 16) from jurisdiction (from the UK) without the prior consent of either the other parent or the person who has been granted residence of the child after divorce or separation.
When a child is taken to a country which has signed the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, the authorities within that country must uphold the tenets of the treaty and must help in securing the return of the child to the appropriate jurisdiction.
The primary aim of the Convention is to preserve the child arrangements which were legally in place immediately prior to the wrongful removal or non-return of a child.
Where a child is taken to a non-signatory country, it may be more difficult to secure the return of a child and all cases must be pursued through the Foreign Office.
Although the laws and conventions are in place, they cannot stop a parent who is determined to take his or her child out of the UK, or to retain them unlawfully once they have taken them out of the country.
If you feel your child is at risk of international child abduction, it is essential that you seek legal advice quickly so that the necessary measures can be put in place to, firstly, attempt to stop the parent taking the children out of the country, and secondly, if this is not possible, to arrange immediate tracing of the children.
George Ide’s family lawyers in Sussex are here to help if you are involved in an international divorce or you fear that your children are at risk of abduction. To talk to a solicitor today, please call the team today at our Chichester offices and we can discuss how best to help you in your personal circumstances.