Child Abduction Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. My ex partner is Spanish and wants to take our children on holiday to Spain. What can I do if he doesn’t bring them back?

As Spain is a Hague Convention country you would be able to apply to have your children brought back to the UK.

Child abduction law is very specialist and complicated. Therefore make sure that you seek advice from a specialist lawyer by asking the ICACU Panel or checking the Reunite International website

2. My ex husband is Pakistani. He wants to take the children on holiday to Pakistan. I am scared he will not bring them back. What can I do?

Pakistan is not a Hague Convention country. However there are a lot of applications that can be made in the court in the UK both before the children go abroad and in the event they are not brought back.

3. I don’t have any money other than benefits, what if my child is abducted and I can’t pay for a lawyer?

Legal Aid is still available in cases of child abduction. Contact us to find out if you would qualify for public funding. 

4. My children and I have always lived in the UK but my husband has applied to the court in Portugal for the children to live there with him. Do I have to fight the case in Portugal?

No. The case should be heard where the children are habitually resident, in other words, where they usually live. 

5. I want to take my children to visit my family in Bangladesh. My ex husband will not agree to this. Can he stop me?

You can apply to the court for a temporary relocation order so that you can visit Bangladesh with your children. You could also be eligible for Legal Aid. 

6. My ex wife has said that if I take the children to America during the summer holidays she will get me arrested for child abduction. Is this true?

It is generally good practice to either get the other parent to agree to the holiday – in writing, to protect you, or to apply to the court for an order allowing you to take them. It is true that child abduction is a criminal offence and is treated very seriously by the police and the courts. However if you take these precautions before you go abroad there should be no problem.

7. I met my husband when he was an overseas student in the UK. We lived in Kuwait after we married and our children were born there. My husband and his family beat me and abused me, as well as the children. I was in a refuge when I first managed to escape to England. He is now threatening to take the children back. I was a prisoner in the home in Kuwait and I can’t go back. Can he make me?

As you are a victim of violence it is likely that you will be eligible for Legal Aid depending on your means. You can apply for an order declaring that the children cannot go back to Kuwait on welfare grounds. You need to be aware that if he applies to the court in the UK for a return order you will need representation. It is better if you first make an application to be allowed to stay.

8. I have heard about the Hague Convention. What is it and how can it protect my children from being abducted?

 The Hague Convention is a charter signed by 80 different countries stating that they will agree to help each other if children are abducted to or from their countries. There is something called the ‘Central Authority’ in each of these countries which helps with making applications abroad if you need to. If your child has been abducted or is at risk of being abducted please contact us as soon as possible.