My child is at risk of being abducted outside the Jurisdiction – What should I do?

When someone takes a child, who is under the age of 16, outside the UK without appropriate consent from those who have parental responsibility, it is called Child Abduction. Under the Child Abduction Act 1984, Child Abduction is a criminal offence.

In most cases, consent is needed from the mother, father, or guardian. In certain rare cases, however, consent may be needed from the local authorities or the Court.

If you fear that your child may be abducted, take the following steps:

  1. Inform the police and notify the passport office that your child is at risk of being taken out of the UK without your consent
  2. Make an application for Prohibited Steps Order to the Court

Note: Preventing child abduction becomes especially important if your child may be taken to a country that is not party to the Hague Convention. The 64 countries who have signed the convention have a framework in place to ensure the safe return of the child to the country where the child is classed to be habitually resident.

What is a Prohibited Steps Order?

By applying for a Prohibited Steps Order, one parent can stop the other parent from making certain decisions for the child, such as

  • Changing the child’s school or nursery
  • Changing the child’s name
  • Authorizing medical treatment for the child
  • Moving the child out of the jurisdiction of England and Wales

So, a PSO can help you not only in preventing child abduction but also in dealing with other issues in child arrangements.

Please note that the Court will make a Prohibited Steps Order only if the issue cannot be resolved with a Child Arrangement Order and only if the order will be in the best interests of the child.

Important: In emergency situations, a parent can make an “urgent” application for a Prohibited Steps Order. When such an application is made, the other parent is not sent a notice and is not invited to attend the initial hearing. To make an urgent PSO application, you must demonstrate to the Court that an emergency hearing would be needed in your situation.

Did You Know? A parent cannot take the child abroad for more than 4 weeks, even for a holiday, without consent from the other parent if this is not specified in the Child Arrangement Order.

How Aristone Solicitors can help

When an emergency PSO order is required, it is highly recommended that you contact an expert. We will listen to you, carefully assess your situation and explain how you can prove to the Court that an emergency hearing is necessary in your case.

Get in touch with aristone solicitors today


Child and Family Law

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