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My ex is accusing me of abducting our children

If your ex has accused you of abducting your children to another country from England and Wales, there is a possibility that you could be prosecuted under the Child Abduction Act 1985. This is because it is a criminal offence to take any child who is under the age of 16 out of this jurisdiction without the consent of all people with parental responsibility or the permission of the court. This is a serious allegation and, if not dealt with promptly, you could experience severe penal repercussions.

Your ex may also bring civil proceedings against you for child abduction under the Hague Convention 1980, or under the Inherent Jurisdiction of the High Court in the alternative. There are a number of limited defences to international parental child abduction. However, if you have taken your children overseas for an extended period or you have decided to move abroad with them permanently without your exs consent you must take immediate steps to obtain consent from your ex or permission from the court for leave to remove your children from the jurisdiction. If you do not do so, you may be faced with a child abduction application, and if successful you will be required to immediately return the children to England and Wales.

Vardags family lawyers and in-house criminal defence experts are perfectly placed to advise you on any potential child abduction charge.

Frequently Asked Questions

If you are named as the person that your children live with under a child arrangements order you may take your children abroad for up to 28 days without requiring permission from your ex or the court. Even if there is no child arrangement order in place and you have taken your children away on a short break, do not panic. The prompt return of your children to the jurisdiction should resolve matters.

If you have moved abroad with your children without your ex’s consent, you could be at risk of being accused of child abduction, which is both a criminal and civil offence. There are serious criminal proceedings that could involve you being extradited to be brought before the criminal court of England and Wales.However, the seriousness of these consequences can be mitigated if you take swift action to contact your ex and resolve the situation. Whatever your reasons for taking your child abroad, the faster you act the less likely the situation will result in onerous orders against you.

The British High Court is obliged to return any children who are suspected of having been abducted. Child abduction is taken very seriously and can lead to criminal penalties as well as civil proceedings. If you are accused of abducting your children, it is vital that you seek specialist legal advice urgently.

OUR Children & Family TEAM

Vicki McLynn

Director - Divorce & Children Vicki McLynn
“Vicki McLynn is always on top of matters and is always well prepared; she is great with clients and retains a cool head under pressure.” 
Legal 500

Katherine Res Pritchard

Senior Director - Head of Children Katherine Res Pritchard
“Destined to become the leading private law children's lawyer in London.” 
Legal 500

Caroline Korah

Director - Children Caroline Korah
“Vardags... has a newly revamped children department that is a force to be reckoned with and is one to watch for its children's work.” 
Legal 500

Is Vardags Right For You?

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