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Parental Child Abduction And The Hague Convention

Posted on Wednesday 16th March 2016 by Lindsey Arnold

Madonna made an application under the Hague Convention in an attempt to get her son Rocco aged 15, to return to live with her in the US.

This surprised us. And that is the only comment we will make on this particular case.Child abduction solicitor Lindsey Arnold of Coles Miller, Poole, Dorset

Our eyes were drawn by another news story in the India Times…

The Punjab and Haryana High Court has asked the Law Commission of India to make necessary recommendations for signing the Hague Convention Treaty.

Hague cases are fairly rare in this part of the world. The Hague Abduction Convention is designed to help speed up the return of a child abducted from one member country to another.

And that is the critical point. Countries must have signed up to the Hague Convention for it to be effective. India has yet to sign.

The Hague Convention regulates which country has the jurisdiction to decide where the child should live – namely the country where the child was habitually resident at the time of abduction.

The convention then provides for a return of the child to that country. Following the return, a court may still give the parent permission to relocate to a different country.

Divorce disputes involving children are distressing enough.

But if your partner leaves you and takes your child to a non-Hague country, then it is very difficult to get them back.

Prevention is far better than cure.

If you have genuine reason to believe that your child is about to be abducted and taken overseas, you can apply for an order to prevent this from happening.

Speed is vital. We can apply on your behalf. 

If your child has been abducted within the UK, we can apply for a Search and Recovery Order and ask the police to help recover the child.

The police will need to be satisfied that the threat of removal is both real and imminent. 

‘Imminent' means within 24 or 48 hours and ‘real' means that the port alert is not being sought merely as a means of insurance. 

In a recent case, family lawyers at Coles Miller successfully obtained an order from a Bournemouth court:

  • to prevent a young baby being removed from the UK by his father
  • for immediate delivery of the child’s passport to the court.

Our lawyers also obtained an order for the recovery of the baby with the help of the police. 

The baby was safely reunited with his mother. The father was arrested.

Coles Miller family law solicitors have extensive expertise in dealing with Hague Convention cases, cross-border divorce, separation and children matters.

For expert advice, contact Coles Miller Senior Family Lawyer Lindsey Arnold at our Poole office, 01202 355695.

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