The incidence of international child abductions is greater than official figures reveal.
Some of the warning signs of impending abduction include:
- The other parent is planning a trip out of the country with your child;
- Your ex-spouse is coming from overseas, and you are worried they plan to abduct your child;
- Your ex-spouse wants you to co-sign your child’s passport without good reason;
- Your child is a citizen of a country which allows one parent alone to apply for the child’s passport and you have a fear of child abduction;
- The other parent has a home, a family or other connections overseas and you are concerned that there is no reason for them to stay in your country;
- The other parent has no substantial property or employment in your country, and nothing keeping them here.
In addition, you should obtain urgent legal advice if:
- The other parent has already left the country with your child;
- You are not sure if they plan to return or if you believe they will not return;
- There is a link to overseas family or property;
- There is no other significant link to your country.
If any of the above applies to you, you should make an urgent appointment to see a family lawyer for further advice specific to your situation.
How to search for an abducted child
What steps can you take if you want to know the location of a child who you believe has been abducted? Under the Family Law Act, certain people can apply for a location order in relation to a child. A location order is an order made by a court that requires a person to provide information about a child’s location to the court.
The following people can apply for a location order: (Australia)
- a person who a child is to live with in accordance with a parenting order;
- a person who a child is to spend time with in accordance with a parenting order;
- a person who a child is to communicate with under a parenting order;
- a person who has parental responsibility for a child under a parenting order;
- a grandparent of a child;
- any other person concerned with the care, welfare or development of a child;
- For the purposes of the Child Protection Convention, a person (including the Commonwealth Central Authority) may apply to a court for a location order.
If you suspect a child is about to be abducted and taken out of the country you need to act quickly.
Source: Armstrong Legal
Published by: ABP World Group International Child Recovery Services