Guest Law Review – Parental Child Abduction
BY Cara Nuttall, Associate at Pannone.
I have been considering the latest parental child abduction statistics following the release of one of the most comprehensive surveys of child abduction since the Hague Convention -the treaty on international co-operation in cases of child abduction – came into force.
The survey was conducted by the Permanent Bureau of the Hague Conference and Cardiff University and considered all worldwide applications made for the return of children in 2008.
The reports show that in 2008, there were 2,460 applications made, marking an increase of approximately 45% since 2003. 69% of international abductions were undertaken by mothers, the majority of whom were the primary carer of the children.
The Central Authority in England and Wales was the second busiest, with the US having the most number of cases. Cases of child abduction involving England and Wales increased by 33% from 2003. The report also showed that the courts in England and Wales generally deal with child abduction cases far quicker than the global average.
The contents of the report mirror our experience in the department over the last few years, and we are now increasingly consulted by parents who are involved in disputes about children which span international boundaries. Many people do not understand the law regarding moving children between countries, and often think that if they are the children’s primary carer, they can choose where the children live. Moving without the relevant authority either of the court or the other parent can lead to complex and expensive legal proceedings which usually end in an order that the child be returned to the original country. This can be avoided if arrangements are addressed properly before the departure takes place.
Anyone who has children with international links and is concerned about where they will live in the future, arrangements for contact or even issues surrounding temporary visits to see family or friends abroad is advised to seek specialist advice from a family law solicitor before making any arrangements.
This was a guest article written by Cara Nuttall, Associate at Pannone.