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International Abduction

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

International Abduction - Scenario Analysis Example #1

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.

What our clients are saying:

‘AE’, Norway

Being an international client going through a difficult and prolonged divorce, I found Brookman to be professional and sound in their advice. Communication was always prompt, concise and courteous. Use of electronic mail was essential due to my everchanging whereabouts and Brookmans’ staff were proficient in never failing to reach me. Through Brookman’s expertise, I was successful in concluding my divorce on fair terms and would have no hesitation in recommending them to other clients.


Google Reviews

Brookman Solicitors

66 Reviews

Jen Ade 23/07/2020

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

Chris Mullins 15/07/2020

Henry and team were most professional, considerate and efficient when handling the financial proceedings owing to my overseas divorce. I recommend their services highly. International circumstance was at first to me most daunting and confusing, given each country had its' own unique approach. Thankfully Henry was knowledgeable of the law on either side of the seas and able therefore to provide best guidance and reasoning to me which enabled favourable settlement!

Wim Jansen 24/06/2020

I contacted Brookman to ask for information regarding the validity of an international divorce court ruling. They were very quick in providing me with the right information. When I had another question a few months later around children matters I phoned them again and after taking some background information and contact details they booked me in for a free telephone consultation with 1 of their partners Talitha Brookman. She spent half an hour of her time explaining to me what I could expect and provided legal advice. All was free of charge. I would not hesitate to contact them again should any matter become more formal and have to go through court. The service has been quick, professional and very friendly.

Rebecca Brown 01/06/2020

Highly recommend this firm. Having searched around different firms for advice for some time, 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.

Nik Carter 10/05/2020

I recently had a free initial consultation with Henry Brookman via video conference. He was considered and meticulous in his approach and gave me well thought through advice. He followed this up with a letter in writing summarising the advice he gave me. I would thoroughly recommend his services to anyone looking for legal representation in a divorce.