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by on 19th Apr 2012


Emma 2A recent report has found that the number of child abductions has increased significantly over the last 5 years. It is thought that this is partly due to the rise in immigration and international marriages, which mean it is becoming more common for a foreign parent to return to their home country after the breakdown in a relationship.

The figures were released in the Office of International Family Justice's annual report. They dealt with 27 of these international disputes in 2007, but the number had risen to 180 by 2011. Lord Justice Thorpe, head of the organisation, feels that these kinds of international disputes will become more and more common. They are being asked to help in cases where there is a conflict between the two different legal systems, which causes frustrating delays for parents who are trying to recover a child.

Many of the cases involve countries in Eastern Europe, but the Office of International Family Justice also reports dealing with cases in Egypt, Mexico and India. The process and timeframe for resolving disputes varied greatly between jurisdictions, with Germany, Austria, Nigeria and the US being amongst the more cooperative countries.

The last government introduced child passports to help address this issue, but it is unclear how much of a difference this has made. It is important for parents to establish who has 'Parental Responsibility' for the child involved, as all of these people will need to be involved in any major decision being made about the child, including where they live and whether they may travel abroad. There are a number of ways for separating parents to make arrangements for their children in an amicable way. For example, mediation can help people resolve issues and avoid disputes escalating into stressful and expensive court proceedings.

For further details please contact Emma Hamilton Cole on 01202 694891.

This document is not intended to constitute and should not be used as a substitute for legal advice on any specific matter. No liability for the accuracy of the content of this document, or the consequences of relying on it, is assumed by the author. If you seek further information, please contact Managing Partner Neil Andrews at Coles Miller Solicitors LLP.