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International child law

International families can face particular difficulties if the relationship between the parents break down. A parent may wish to return to their home country with their child or relocate overseas for work. 

However, there are many different aspects to the law on the international movement of children to and from the UK involving English, European and other international laws and specialist legal advice is vital.

Our in-house international family law team can help you with:

International child relocation
International child abduction
Taking children abroad when separated

International child relocation

If you wish to move overseas with your children without the other parent you must have written permission from the other parent (and anyone else with parental responsibility).

If you do not have this, you will need the permission of the Court.  

Our international team can help you draft an agreement to ensure that consent from the other parent is clear.  If this is not obtainable, the team also has the expertise to give you the best chance of success in applying for permission from the Court to take your child abroad permanently.

If the consent of the other party with parental responsibility is not obtained or if the permission of the Court is not granted and you remove your child from England and Wales, you could be committing  child abduction.

Most parents can not contemplate their children being abducted by the other parent however these cases are becoming increasingly common. Whether you are the parent being accused of being the ‘abducting party’ or the parent ‘left behind’ it is essential that you have specialist legal representation and take action quickly.

The action you need to take will depend on the country involved. Many countries are now signed up to the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction 1980 which is a tool used to aid the swift return of children to their normal country of residence.

For those countries that are not, different procedures will apply. Either way, seek legal assistance immediately. 

Taking children abroad when separated

It’s not commonly known that you need consent or the court’s permission to take a child out of the UK for a holiday if you are separated. Whether it is a day trip or a summer holiday, you must get written consent from anyone else with parental responsibility for the children.

The exception to this is when a Child Arrangements Order confirming residence is in place,  in which case you may take the child abroad for less than one month (as long as it does not breach any other part of the Order).

If you cannot obtain consent you will have to apply to a court for a Specific Issue Order.

Get in touch

If you are based outside of the UK we offer an online service for all of our lawyers and offices. Appointments can easily be conducted by video conferencing. Solicitors can be assigned based on their areas of expertise and location and supported by a team of experts across the country. 

Your team in International

Julian Hawkhead
Julian Hawkhead has extensive experience in all aspects of family law particularly in comp...
Senior Partner
Holly Lamb
“Adept at providing realistic and timely advice” (Legal 500), I lead the Stowe interna...
Head of International & Partner Tunbridge Wells
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