International child abduction involves a parent or any other third party, such as a grandparent, taking or retaining a child from the country where the child has been living or is habitually resident without the consent of all of the people who have parental responsibility (custody) for the child or an order of the court of that country.
International child abduction can occur for a number of reasons and can include instances of forced marriage or female genital mutilation (FGM) overseas.
We have solicitors in the International Family Law department with in-depth knowledge and expertise in handling cases involving international child abduction. Duncan Lewis is one of only a select number of law firms in England and Wales to be listed on the panel of accredited lawyers on the International Child Abduction and Contact Unit (ICACU).
Our lawyers have considerable expertise in bringing about swift resolution in child abduction cases and act regularly on behalf of left behind parents in the UK and around the world whose children have been taken abroad without consent, as well as persons who have wrongfully removed their children from a foreign country and have brought them to this country or who have kept them here.
If you have a concern that your child is going to be taken or has been taken abroad, our solicitors will act quickly to prevent the child from being taken abroad or secure the child’s return. This can include seeking court orders to prevent the child being removed from their home, wardship orders, working closely with the police, border agencies, and other government organisations both in this country and abroad. We can also assist in getting the child back from any country they have been taken to. If you live abroad and the child has been brought to the UK without the consent of those with parental responsibility we can assist by obtaining orders for the return of the child.
The court has a duty to ensure that a child who has been living or is habitually resident in the UK or is a British national is protected. The High Court is able to make any order in respect of such a child, including a child that is at risk of being unlawfully removed from England and Wales or has been removed abroad by anyone whether or not they have parental responsibility. Our solicitors can advise on making an application to the High Court to make the child a ward of court.
The Duncan Lewis Family department includes members who have achieved the Law Society’s Advanced Family Law and Children Law accreditations, and the team also includes a founding member of the Child Abduction Lawyers’ Association (CALA). A number of our solicitors are also members of Resolution a family law association committed to resolving family disputes and problems fairly and amicably.
Our team has associates in most overseas jurisdictions and collectively, our staff can speak over 60 different languages, attributing to our successful track record in handling international child abduction cases.
Clients may be eligible for legal aid funding for cases involving child protection and child abduction. Our solicitors can advise further on funding options at the initial client meeting, when the case will be assessed.
If a client is not eligible for legal aid, Duncan Lewis offers fixed fee scales, including an initial client meeting to assess a case at a set fee.
Fixed fees for further legal work will also apply and a client will be advised of these in advance.
We advise clients to get in touch as soon as possible in cases involving international parent and child issues so that swift action can be taken to prevent a child being taken overseas unlawfully, or to initiate proceedings for the return of a child who has been removed unlawfully.
For expert legal advice on international child abduction, contact Duncan Lewis International Family Law Solicitors in confidence on 033 3772 0409.