International parental child abduction

Every day there is an international parental kidnapping in Spain

Sometimes conflicts arise in the break up of a relationship that require strong solutions. 

This can especially be the case if the parents are from different countries and one of them decides to look out for his or her personal interest instead of the child’s, by taking the child to a different country from where they live. 

This causes pain of thousands of children, parents and entire families, who lose their bond with their children after a family break up. 

Unfortunately, if the child is retained in a country that is not member of the Hague Convention, many parents will not see their children again in a long time.

To solve this problem there are two ways: preventative and punitive.

When it is suspected that a parent is planning to abduct a child, the judge should be asked to retain the child’s passport and issue a court order in which it is clear that the child cannot leave their country of residence without authorisation.

However if the child has already been taken out of the country, you must go to the punitive way to return the child to the country of his previous habitual residence.

Speed ​​is essential in cases of international parental kidnapping, given that the scenario changes depending on the time the child has been kidnapped. 

If the child has been detained for less than one year, a lawyer specialised in international abductions must ask for return based on the Hague Convention. 

If it has been more than a year, there is serious danger because there is a cause of refusal of return, on the basis that the child has already adapted to their new environment. 

If this is considered to be the case, the judge can refuse to grant the return. Therefore time is of the essence.

In the case of international child abduction, an application for return must be filed immediately with the Ministry of Justice.

This applies if the country in which the child is located is a Member State of the European Union or any of the countries that sign the Hague Convention. 

If the country is outside of the Hague Convention, it is advisable to bring the case to the attention of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs & Cooperation and initiate a judicial return procedure before the courts of the country where the minor is located.

Once the above procedures have been completed, a judicial proceeding will be initiated in the country where the child is located.

The courts in that country have the right to decide whether or not to return the child.

If you need help with any matter relating to custody or family law in general, please don´t hesitate to contact us.

We offer confidential consultations under no-obligation and without charge.

Our bi-lingual team of lawyers in our family law department are experienced in helping international clients.

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