Under the Child Abduction Act 1984 section 1 (1) it is an offence for a parent to take a child out of the UK without the consent of anyone with Parental Responsibility or Court Order. The exceptions being a Special Guardian who can remove for up to 3 months without the parents’ consent or a Court Order and a parent with a “live with” Order who can remove for up to a month.
It is not an offence under this Act to remove a child to another part of the UK.
Where a parent has sole PR, such as an unmarried mother where the father is not named on the child(ren)’s birth certificate and has no PR Order, then no consent for the child(ren)’s removal from the jurisdiction is required.
It is also an offence to attempt to take a child out of the jurisdiction without consent and the police can arrest anyone they reasonably suspect of attempting to remove. It is possible either for the police or the non parent wishing to prevent the removal to apply for an “All Ports Warning”. Details of the child(ren) at risk of abduction are circulated by the police national computer to immigration officers at ports and air ports. The police must be satisfied the risk is genuine and imminent. It is not absolutely necessary to have a Court Order although it is good evidence of the seriousness to convince the police to take action.
It is possible to obtain a Prohibited Steps Order forbidding the child(ren)’s removal from the UK or specified part of the UK.
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