London is home to many international families, and when a relationship breaks down, the natural and understandable reaction for many parents is to want to return to the support of their wider family and network of friends in their native country. Many are surprised to learn that they simply cannot decide to return to their native country with their children without the other parent’s permission, whether for a holiday or a permanent move.

However, if this happens without the approval of the other parent or permission from a court, a parent (whether inadvertently or not) may be committing the criminal offence of child abduction and advice before any move is made is essential.  Different countries have different laws, but many have signed up to the Hague Convention and European law is regulating increasingly the movement of children between EU countries.

If, contrary to an agreement or a court order, your children have been removed from their home, you should seek urgent legal advice.  Likewise, if you have taken the children from their home you need immediate advice about your legal position.

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