Legal Help for Child Abduction Issues in the UK

We can live, move or work anywhere we care to within the UK. This freedom of movement means families may be spread across the UK and when there is a relationship breakdown, this can bring the possible threat of a removal of a child to another part of the UK. 

For some families this is not an insurmountable problem if they have reached agreement about where the child should live and how often and by what means the other parent will have contact with them. Sadly, no borders for other families can create huge tensions, threats of and actual abductions within the UK.

Frequently Asked Questions

The following are some of our most frequently asked questions when it comes to child abduction issues.

What counts as child abduction?

A child may be considered to have been abducted if they have either been wrongfully removed from their place of habitual residence or wrongfully kept in a place that is not their place of habitual residence. Habitual residence, while open to interpretation, generally means where the child usually lives with the parent who has main care of the child.

My child has been abducted by the other parent, what can I do?

Early legal advice is a priority. Court action can be raised to seek a residence order and an order for the delivery of the child to you if the other parent refuses to return them. If this happens, steps can be taken to have any court order made registered in the court of the other jurisdiction and enforced.

How can Thorntons help?

If you are worried that your child is at risk of abduction within the UK or has been abducted, seek legal advice straight away.  Our Family Law team has great experience in dealing with child abduction cases and are on hand to give you advice and able to move quickly on your and your child’s behalf. We can also help with international child abduction issues.

At Thorntons Family Law, we offer an initial free no-obligation chat over the phone to outline your options and the possible costs.

Depending on your case and circumstances, the next step is to come into one of our local offices to meet a Family Law Solicitor about your case and the way forward.

Call us on 03330 430 150 for a chat or contact us to book an appointment.

How much will it cost?

We are always clear to clients about the potential costs of any option and offer a range of payment options.  In some cases we can offer clients a fixed price package.  If we cannot offer a fixed price service, we charge based on the time we spend on your case, including meetings, emails, phone calls and court representations.  Depending on your case and circumstances, you may also need to cover outlays, such as court costs or payments to independent experts. We will set out our fees and likely extra costs for you at the start and keep you informed of any possible changes as your case progresses.

Please note we do not offer Legal Aid for this service.

Frequently asked questions

We often receive questions about child abduction and the measures parents can take to prevent it. We have answered some commonly asked questions below

Read frequently asked questions

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Key Contacts


Angela Wipat

+44 1738 621212


Ronnie Murphy

+44 1334 477107

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