My former partner has abducted my child / children. What can I do?
In the event your former partner has abducted your children, the following options are available to you:
- Apply for an Order that the children be returned to you immediately and not be removed without your written consent or order of the court. The court can attach a Penal Notice to this Order which means if the other parent fails to comply, they could be held in contempt of court and a fine, suspended prison sentence or actual prison sentence could be imposed on them.
- In the event you believe there is an imminent risk of your partner taking the child or children abroad, you can contact the Police and ask them to issue a Port Alert. A Port Alert, when issued, will notify all Police forces and Immigration Officers of the child’s details. The child is placed on the Child Abduction list for a period of 28 days initially.
- You can also contact Her Majesty’s Passport Office and ask them to prevent the issue of a passport in a child’s name. If your child’s other parent holds another nationality you can write to the relevant Embassy, High Commission or Consulate of the other country asking them not to issue a passport to your children. They do not have to agree to such a request, but they may do so.
- You can seek a Wardship Order from the Family Court. A Wardship Order basically makes the court a de-facto parent of the child. The court can make the child a ‘Ward of Court’. This means that the High Court have a duty to the children to ensure their safety and protection. It would also prevent the child from being illegally removed from the jurisdiction of the court i.e. England & Wales, without the court’s permission.
If your children have been abducted and taken abroad, a Wardship Order can assist a government in attempts to secure the child’s return from whichever country they have been taken to.