Child Abduction Offences
International parental child abduction is the removal or retention of a child outside their country of habitual residence in breach of another guardian´s custody rights. Unfortunately, these types of situations happen on a regular basis. For instance, it could be a parent is fleeing the country or is trying to escape a relationship gone wrong. Every situation results in a deprivation of one parent´s right to custody or visitation of their child.
The Hague Abduction Convention
Spain is a member of The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction or Hague Abduction Convention. The convention sets out the process for returning a child who has been internationally abducted by a parent from one member country to another. When a country is bound by the Hague Abduction Convention it makes it easier to use legal force to return the child home safely. It aims to prevent child abduction, to return the situation to normal, and to protect both parent´s rights. In addition, the Convention aims to protect the child´s right to have contact with both parents where appropriate.
Within the convention, there is a definition of child abduction. When a child is removed from their place of residence without the consent of the guardian with whom he usually lives then this child has been abducted Also, a child can be abducted if there is a serious breach of an established judicial or administrative decision in the retention of the child. The penalty can be from 2 to 4 years of imprisonment and the loss of the right to parental authority for 4 to 10 years.
However, if within 24 hours of the abduction, the abducting parent informs the other parent or institution in charge of the child of their exact location and gives a promise of immediate return, there will be no charges.
Alternatively, a child can be abducted to a country which is not a member of a Hague Convention. In these cases, it can be very difficult for the authorities to use legal force to return the child. If you require more information on this matter please do not hesitate to contact one of our lawyers.
Contact a Lawyer
In short, if your child has been abducted out of Spain it is essential to consult with a lawyer immediately. The abducting parent may attempt to prove that the child has adapted well to the new environment and that it would be in the child´s best interest to stay in this new situation. If they succeed, then it would be highly unlikely for a judge to agree to return the child to Spain. The best interests of the child will always be what the judge will base a decision upon.
Moreover, if you suspect your child has been or will be abducted, we recommend you consult a lawyer in Spain. Our legal team has experience in International Family Law. We would advise you of all the preventative measures that you can take. If your child has already been abducted, our qualified lawyers would pursue every legal means to allow for the safe return of your child.
Our criminal lawyers can help you with your case in Barcelona, Catalonia, or other areas of Spain.
Should you need further information, or legal advice, please do not hesitate to contact our lawyers.