International Child Abduction Lawyers
International Child Abduction Lawyers

International child abduction & children disputes

The international movement of children in the event of relationship breakdown can result in several issues arising which our experts at RWK Goodman can advise on.

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Contact us today

When a child is taken over international borders, we have the skills to bring them back.

Bring your child home, with lawyers who understand what family means to you.

If you have had a child abducted by an ex-partner or family member then speak to our international child abduction lawyers. Let’s get to work bringing the situation under control and provide a resolution that places the child’s best intrests at its heart.  We focus on listening to you and working with you to find the best strategy and solution to the issues you face. Our priority, along with the Court’s, is the welfare of the child.

We can advise on:

  • The Hague Convention & Child Abduction
  • Contact with a child across borders
  • Recognition & enforcement of foreign orders concerning children
  • Relocation law – moving children within the Country and across borders
  • Surrogacy law
  • International & domestic adoption

Call our international family team today

  • We know what to do if a child is moved from a country without permission

    We advise on many international issues relevant to children and the international relocation of children. If you wish to move or travel abroad with your child or maybe you wish to prevent a child from being taken abroad then we can help. We also advise on international child abduction to include when a child is taken or retained abroad without consent or when a child is brought to this country without consent.

  • We have legal connections around the world

    We work closely with firms in over 20 jurisdictions to ensure that their clients achieve the best outcome. We have excellent links with foreign members of the International Academy of Family Lawyers (IAFL) to ensure that you have access to the best advice. We are also a member of Interleges, which enables us to work with solicitors across the world on matters that may require international expertise.

  • We understand how different countries’ laws can affect your outcome

    It is necessary to have extensive knowledge of international law when advising clients who have lived or married abroad or may have assets such as a property in another country. Careful thought and advice will be given in relation to which jurisdiction would be best to carry out your divorce proceedings or proceedings relating to children. It is essential to issue proceedings in the correct country to ensure that you can achieve the best possible financial settlement and to ensure that you can enforce any order made.

Our international credentials

Represented the Respondents in the first reported decision to consider the matter of consent in a surrogacy arrangement pursuant to s54(6) of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 2008.

Re C (Surrogacy: Consent) (Rev1) [2023] EWCA Civ 16 (16 January 2023) (

Represented Reunite in this landmark decision in which the Supreme Court ruled that a child who can objectively be understood to be an Applicant for asylum cannot be returned to the country from which they have sought refuge before their asylum claim has been decided.

Re G (a child) [2021] UKSC 9

Represented a parent in complex international adoption proceedings where a single-parent sought to have an Iranian Adoption Order recognised in the UK.

[2020] EWCA Civ 1185 Z (Recognition of Foreign Adoption: Refusal) (2020)

In this highly publicised case, represented a parent seeking to defend Hague Convention 1980 proceedings pursuant to Article 13(b).

Uhd v McKay [2019] EWHC 1239 (Fam)

This judgment addressed imperative issues about jurisdiction when issuing private law proceedings under the Children Act 1989 in any case that has an international element, particularly in cases where a parent has recently arrived in the jurisdiction with their children.

R v R (Jurisdiction and Acquiescence) [2016] 1339 EWHC (Fam)

Successfully represented a parent in the Court of Appeal against an order under the Hague Convention for a parent to return two children to Canada.

Y (Children) [2018] EWCA Civ 1208

An appeal raising the question as to whether and when it may be appropriate for the Court to dismiss a Hague Convention application. Kim was successful in defending a Hague Convention application.

Re S (A Child) [2018] EWCA Civ 1453

Successfully represented a parent in the Court of Appeal in relation to the dismissal of a Hague Convention application to have two children returned to South Africa.

Re C (Children) (Abduction: Article 13(b)) [2018] EWCA Civ 2834

Represented a parent who had abducted a child to Russian where there were serious allegations of sexual abuse.

JEG v IS [2014] EWHC 287 (Fam) (13 February 2014)

In another Hague Convention case, successfully represented a parent, in the Court of Appeal, whose child had been wrongfully removed from France. This case also involved care proceedings in which the child had been removed from the abducting parenting and placed with her uncle under an Interim Care Order.


Represented a parent who did not have parental responsibility and successfully argued that where a Polish parent had retained the child in Poland after a holiday in breach of promises to the English Court, those promises amounted to an express and unequivocal acceptance that the English Court had jurisdiction in matters of parental responsibility.

ED (A Child) 2014 EWHC 2731 (Fam)

Represented a parent and successfully returned her child to Australia under the Hague Convention 1980.

CB v CB [2013] EWHC 2092 (Fam) (10 April 2013)
RWK Goodman International Lawyers
a guide to international child abduction

International child abduction – what you need to know about the law and your rights

Child abduction is a complex area of law, especially when it concerns international borders.

If you believe that child has been removed from their home country then it is important to act quickly by seeking professional advice. In this guide we will explain some of the most common questions and concerns that we encounter when dealing with international child abduction.

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Our services

Other family law services

International divorce & financial disputes
In the event of a relationship breakdown, complications may arise due to the differences in family law between two or more countries. Those issues may involve cross jurisdictional divorces, financial settlements, and the international movement of children.
Separation and divorce solicitors
Whether you are going through a separation or divorce we recognise that this will be exceptionally stressful at any stage of your life. There are options available to suit all budgets and we can talk you through any options or concerns.
Children Disputes
There is no negotiation more difficult than those surrounding children. We can help separating parents put their children’s needs first, achieving the best result for you and your children, quickly and sensitively.
Domestic abuse solicitors
If you find yourself in an abusive relationship it can be extremely hard to find a way out. If you or a member of your family are a victim of domestic abuse it is important that you contact our team today.
Injunctions and emergency remedies
On some occasions the best way to protect yourself or your loved ones against unwanted access to your information or finances is to apply for an injunction. Our team are well placed to issue court proceedings in an emergency.
Pre and post-nuptial agreements
No one goes into a marriage thinking that it won’t work out, but unfortunately it’s the sad reality that more than one in three marriages end in divorce. A prenuptial agreement can be a simple but effective way to safeguard your interests should your marriage breakdown.
Family Dispute Resolution, Arbitration, Collaborative Law and Mediation
Our mediation and family dispute resolution services can help you and your partner come to a joint decision about the best solution for your family in relation to your children and/or finances on separation, divorce or dissolution of your civil partnership.

Speak to Kim Lehal

Kim is a highly regarded specialist in matters related to international children and family law.

Kim Lehal RWK Goodman
Partner | Head of International Children

Frequently asked questions about international family law

“My partner has taken our children abroad and refuses to return to the UK. Can I get them back?”

A lot will depend on where your children have been taken. We can advise on international child abduction to include when a child is taken or retained abroad without consent or when a child is brought to this country without consent. It is vital that early advice is sought on these issues.

“I would like to move abroad with our children but my ex-partner would not agree to their relocation. Do I need my ex-partners consent?”

In order to remove your child from England & Wales on a permanent basis you will need the consent of every person who has parental responsibility for your child. We can advise you on how to obtain that consent both out of Court and by issuing proceedings.

“My wife / husband has moved abroad, can I start divorce proceedings here?”

Yes, provided certain criteria are met, and provided no divorce proceedings have already been started abroad. If you are concerned that your partner may start proceedings abroad and you would prefer for your divorce to be dealt with in England, it is very important that you contact us urgently. Issuing proceedings in the correct jurisdiction is essential in financial proceedings to achieve the best possible financial settlement, and practical matters such as attendance at hearings abroad and the language in which proceedings will be conducted must not be overlooked.

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