When someone (including a parent) removes a child from their country of habitual residence without proper consents or Court approval it may be an abduction. It is important to act promptly. The Hague Convention on the International Aspects of the Abduction of Children may apply.

You will need our advice if:
a) you wish to take your child to live abroad;
b) your child has been taken abroad without your consent, or is about to be; or
c) if you are facing a claim that you have abducted a child.

Please note that there is no ‘abduction’ if the parent with responsibility moves to another part of the UK. Read more about Parental Abduction within the UK.

Explained: ‘Leave to remove’

‘Leave to remove’ is an application made by a parent to the court to remove their child from their current country.

For parents with sole responsibility of their child, where there is no disagreement with the party, there is no problem moving the child abroad. However, for parents with joint responsibility and joint interest in the children, it is essential that they communicate to reach an agreement regarding the possible relocation and on-going arrangements for the child. Ultimately, oral or preferably written consent must be obtained from the party remaining in the country where the child originally resided (often referred to as the “left-behind parent”).

In an ideal world, conversations between parties would be smooth, the relationship amicable and an appropriate agreement reached. However, it is often the case that one parent disputes the idea of their children moving overseas and withholds their consent. The reason is usually the loss of contact with the left-behind parent. This is not fanciful; many studies have shown that without clear practical arrangements being established from the start, contact often falls away quickly.

If the dispute did escalate and was taken to Court, the person seeking to relocate would need to provide legitimate reasons as to why they wanted the child to be taken abroad; and for the parent at risk of being “left-behind”, why the child should stay put. The Court will base its decision on the best interests of the child. The strength of feeling of the parent wanting to “go home” is not necessarily a guide to what is best for the child, although it can be.

To properly understand your legal rights, discuss your situation with a solicitor with knowledge and familiarity with issues regarding relocation, and can advise you of the best way to pursue your case, both for your good and the good of your child.

You can also listen to a BBC interview with Henry Brookman regarding a case of international abduction:

 

 

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International Abduction Scenario

The Scenario

Mrs D had been living in Australia. She was English. Mr D was Australian and they had a three year old daughter. They agreed that their marriage had ended. She moved out with their daughter into temporary accommodation. Mrs D said she would go back to England and her husband agreed and he sent her belongings. Three months after she arrived back in England with their daughter her husband claimed in a lawyer's letter that he had never agreed to their daughter leaving and that Mrs D was guilty of abduction. They spoke of starting proceedings with the Family Court.

Our Solution

We took instructions and consulted a specialist barrister. We decided that the solution was to put up a strong counter-argument and "call his bluff". Meanwhile we would explore a possible financial settlement which might confirm that her husband now accepted that their daughter should stay in England and preferably would settle all the issues by agreement.

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Myself and my mother had a free video consultation with Mr. Brookman regarding my mother's divorce and were both impressed with his knowledge on divorce matters, professionalism and understanding. Henry then followed up with us with a clear plan of what he suggests we do...

Mar 2021   Bruna Cordeiro Pezzano

I had a consultation with Mr. Brookman and was impressed with his honesty, knowledge and understanding of my situation. He seemed to take a genuine interest in my case, which immediately put me at ease.

Mar 2021   Chichi

Very swift response and concise information. I had a very engaging free consultation with Mr Brookman initially which was informative and professional.

Feb 2021   Garry Ralph

I would like to say my experience with Mr Brookman was an extremely positive experience. His knowledge, advice and compassion put me very much at ease and made a very difficult situation much more bearable.

Feb 2021   Jenny Brock

Very helpful, and honest about my situation even though it wasn’t business for them at this time. Would recommend.

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I want to highly commend Brookman Solicitors firm. I had the privilege of getting very thorough and sensible advice from their solicitor Jennifer Douglas. I don't have enough praise for her.

Sep 2020   Yesima Hamid

I had an initial consultation and Henry was well prepared. He gave great advice and followed through quite quickly. He was very helpful.

Jul 2020   Jen Ade

I had a free consultation with Henry Brookman. He was incredibly knowledgeable about my complex situation, gave straightforward advice and empowered me to understand exactly how I need to proceed.

Jun 2020   Rebeca Brown

About The Team

We are a specialist divorce and international divorce family law firm, advising clients in the United Kingdom (specifically England and Wales) and throughout the world. We have a very people–orientated approach to working with clients. Our principal Henry Brookman has practised law for over 40 years, and our team has a wide range of skills and expertise. We are recommended by the Legal 500 and have been awarded the Law Society’s quality mark, Lexcel.

Senior Partner

Henry Brookman

Henry Brookman is the founding Partner of Brookman Solicitors, described by The Legal 500 as ‘shrewd, savvy, sagacious and highly experienced’.

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Partner

Talitha Brookman

Talitha is a Partner in the firm and a very experienced practitioner. She has been exclusively practising family law for over 15 years and is a recognised expert in her field.

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Associate Partner

Aziz Malik

Aziz is an Associate Partner at Brookman. He is highly regarded for his expertise on financial matters in divorce and has been recommended by the Legal 500.

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Associate Solicitor

Kevin Danagher

Kevin specialises exclusively in family law, advising on all aspects of relationship breakdown, divorce, same sex marriage, marital agreements, and international family cases.

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Solicitor

Jennifer Douglas

Jennifer is a talented solicitor, experienced in all elements of family law, including high net worth financial proceedings, Children Act proceedings and financial claims.

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Solicitor

Gavin Yeung

Gavin has excellent experience in family law including divorce and financial proceedings and international child abduction proceedings involving Hague Convention countries.

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Lorraine Imms

With over 20 years' family law experience, Lorraine can advise on divorce, matrimonial finances, cohabitee disputes, nuptial agreements and private children matters.

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Lorna Martin

Lorna is our Office Manager who oversees the operations of the firm including providing accounts support as well as secretarial support to the team.

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Evdokia Dikova

Eva is an AAT qualified accounts manager and holds full AAT membership (MAAT). She gained her degree in financial accounting from the University of Economics in Bulgaria.

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Victoria Delatouche

Victoria is a highly experienced Legal Secretary and a long-standing member of the team. She provides secretarial support for the office.

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Michelle Louison

Michelle provides secretarial support to Henry Brookman. A very experienced family law secretary, Michelle has worked in law for over 12 years.

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Patricia Antonio

Patricia is an experienced secretary and office administrator, handling the calls that come into the office, greeting clients, and managing office presentation.

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