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Preventing Child Abduction in Cross-Border Divorce or Dissolution Cases

In the intricate landscape of cross-border divorces or marriage dissolutions, preventing child abduction is crucial to ensure the safety and well-being of the involved children. Let’s explore the legal challenges and solutions in this sensitive context.

Changes in Divorce Jurisdiction Post-Brexit

Brexit has brought significant changes to determining jurisdiction for cross-border divorces in England and Wales. It’s no longer based on the first divorce petition but on a range of factors, including marital residence, the parties’ workplace locations, and the habitual residence of the children.

Laws Regarding Divorce and Financial and Child Arrangements

Laws regarding divorce and financial and child arrangements vary across jurisdictions. England and Wales are often chosen for their perceived fairness in courts and the discretion judges have in issuing financial and maintenance orders.

Preventing Parental Abduction and the Role of the Hague Convention

Parents may disagree about future plans for children after divorce, especially if one spouse is a foreign national. If a parent attempts to take the child abroad without consent, the remaining parent in England has the right to legal assistance for the child’s return. The Hague Convention of 1980 addresses international child abduction.

Prohibited Steps Order and Its Purposes

In cases of strong suspicion of parental abduction, it’s possible to request a “Prohibited Steps Order” to prevent the child from being removed from the jurisdiction of England and Wales. This order aims to protect the children’s well-being and can address various issues, such as changing residence or contact with specific individuals.

Urgent Intervention and Legal Force

In situations where there’s an immediate threat of abduction by force, it’s possible to issue a Prohibited Steps Order without the usual welfare check for the child. This order is reinforced by specific laws, including the Child Abduction Act of 1984 and the Family Law Act of 1986, to ensure its enforcement.

Our family law department specializes in cross-border divorces and the associated legal challenges. We work closely with our offices across Europe and are prepared to handle urgent matters involving the safety and well-being of children.

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