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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About The Team

We are a specialist divorce and international divorce family law team, 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. Henry Brookman has practised law for over 45 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.

Partner

Henry Brookman

With over 45 years' experience, Henry Brookman is the senior member of the team. He is described by The Legal 500 as ‘shrewd, savvy, sagacious and highly experienced’.

Partner

Talitha Brookman

Talitha is a Partner in the firm and a very experienced practitioner who has specialised exclusively in family law for over 15 years. Talitha is recommended by The Legal 500.

Partner

Philip Morton

Recommended by The Legal 500, Philip is an expert in all areas of family law, including domestic and international financial disputes, fraud and commercial dispute resolution.

Partner

Natasha Slabas

Expert in all areas of family law, often involving cases that have an international element, including work in relation to financial settlements following divorce.

Partner

Aziz Malik

Aziz is a Partner at the firm and is highly regarded for his expertise on financial matters in divorce and is recommended by the Legal 500.

Senior Associate

Joanna Potbury

Family law specialist based in Brighton advising on divorce, cohabitation agreements, children, post-nuptial agreements, and domestic violence. Joanna is recommended by The Legal 500.

Senior Associate

Kirsty Kelleher

Kirsty is a specialist family law solicitor recommended by The Legal 500. An expert in divorce, financial matters, child-related disputes and contentious probate cases.

Senior Associate

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.

Associate Solicitor

Jennifer Douglas

Jennifer is a talented solicitor, recommended by The Legal 500 and experienced in all elements of family law, including high net worth financial proceedings, Children Act proceedings.

Associate Solicitor

Gavin Yeung

Recommended by The Legal 500, Gavin has excellent experience in family law including divorce and financial proceedings and international child abduction proceedings.

Senior Associate

Pippa Marshall

Pippa’s experience covers all areas of family law including divorce, financial remedies, same sex relationships, and pre- and post-nuptial agreements and is recommended by The Legal 500.

Chartered Legal Executive

Lorraine Imms

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

Trainee Solicitor

Rachael Au

Rachael is a highly capable member of the family team in Brighton. She started her training contract in September 2019, her first seat being in Personal Injury and Clinical Negligence.

Paralegal

Katie Main Wilson

From the Brighton office, Katie assists the team with matters relating to pre-nuptial agreements, divorce, financial disputes, child access agreements and harassment protection.

Office Manager

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.

Accounts Manager

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.

Secretary

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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