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My ex has abducted our children

The Child Abduction Act 1985 makes it a criminal offence for your ex to take any of your children under the age of 16 out of this jurisdiction without your or the courts permission. Child abduction is a serious criminal offence that can have serious legal repercussions. Whilst child abduction is a criminal offence in England, it is not a criminal offence in all countries.

If you suspect that your child has or is going to be abducted, it is natural to panic. However, the faster you act the more likely you are to achieve the swift return of your children, or more importantly, to prevent the child leaving this jurisdiction in the first place. As an international family law firm, we are used to dealing with people who are under a great deal of emotional stress, as well as time pressure. Our lawyers will be able to advise you on the quickest, calmest and most effective way to reunite you with your children. If your ex has abducted your child to a country that is a signatory to the Hague Convention 1980 on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, you will be able to make an urgent application in that country for them to be returned to England immediately. You can also apply to the English High Court for an order that your child is made a Ward of the Court, and through that, for orders that your child is returned to England and Wales.

Conversely, if your child has been abducted to England by your ex from a country that is a signatory to the Hague Convention 1980, you can apply to the English High Court for an order that they are immediately returned home.

Frequently Asked Questions

Whilst there are perfectly innocent reasons why your ex might not yet have returned with your children from Britain, it could also be a real cause for concern. In the first instance, it will be necessary to contact your ex, the hotel or the last place they were known to be and any family or friends who might know of their whereabouts.

If you have any reason to suspect that your ex has abducted your children it will be important to take immediate action. Child abduction cases are extremely time sensitive and the faster you act the more likely you are to ensure your children’s swift return.

OUR Children & Family TEAM

Caroline Korah

Partner - Head of Children Caroline Korah Vardags Partner Head of Children
“Caroline Korah is a highly dedicated lawyer who fearlessly represents her clients’ interest” 
Legal 500

Lucy Bolton

Partner - Divorce & Family Lucy Williams Vardags Partner Divorce & Family
“Lucy Williams is loved by clients and counsel” 
Legal 500

Jemima Kearney

Assistant Solicitor Jemima Kearney Graduate Trainee Solicitor

Is Vardags Right For You?

We offer a free consultation to qualifying individuals. Please call our confidential enquiry line on 020 7404 9390. Lines are staffed 24 hours.

When you contact us a member of our client relations team will take the full details of your situation, assess whether we can assist you, and if so, determine the best team for your case. 

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