Child Abduction in the state of emergency

Filed under : Family Law
De Cotta Law Family Law in Spain and UK

Child Abduction is when a parent takes a child to another country without the express consent and agreement of the other parent intending to change the child’s country of habitual residence. As a result of the Covid 19 pandemic travel between countries is restricted to a minimum and strict conditions are applied.

Given the current situation there may be cases where a parent considers it is not possible to return the child to their country of habitual residence because of the travel restrictions or because they believe the health situation may be better in one country than the other.

On the contrary the return of a child to their country of habitual residence is one of the specific reasons that can be given to obtain permission to travel.

If a child is taken to, and is staying in, a country that is not their country of habitual residence, during the state of emergency we would recommend commencing a Hague Convention proceeding. This Convention of 25th October 1980 deals with cases of child abduction and kidnap. The proceeding should be commenced as quickly as possible.

We are currently dealing with a case where, despite the lockdown, the Judge in the High Court in London has already ordered the return of children to their country of habitual residence in Spain. This type of Family case is given priority. Where there is no custody order in place it may be necessary to subsequently apply for an order on the return of the child. This application has to be made in the country of residence.


If you believe that a child has been taken to another country without your consent you should start the legal process immediately without waiting for the State of emergency to come to an end.


For more information and a confidential consultation contact us on [email protected] or call on + 34 952 527014 and ask for Reyes Gomez or Lauren Sykes. For the Canary Islands call on +34 922 719520 or email [email protected]