Recent news reported that Airport Security Officials discovered a young Child being "smuggled" in hand luggage by an Egyptian couple who were attempting to get the Child into the UAE without appropriate documentation. The incident is an indication of the lengths that parents will go to in order to move their Children across international boundaries unlawfully if needed.
As a Family Lawyer dealing with Abduction and international contact cases, the Summer marks a time for increased vigilance, as it is common for Children from separated families with international roots to travel abroad for contact with a parent or extended family, and this marks a prime risk of Abduction or Unlawful Retention.
There are a wide range of arrangements and safeguards which can be put in place to prevent an Abduction in circumstances where there is considered to be a real risk of it taking place and these can often be implemented on short notice. Part of a Family Solicitor's job is to spot the potential risks and areas for concern and then look into how these can be addressed so as to minimise the chance of an Abduction taking place.
International contact can of course be important for a Child and an invaluable way of maintaining links and relationships with family members in other countries and there has to be a balance found between facilitating such visits, whilst minimising a risk that a Child will be unlawfully removed or retained, giving rise to a potentially long and costly legal battle, and a confusing and unsettling experience for the Child involved.
Anyone who is concerned about the Child travelling abroad is advised to seek legal advice well in advance, rather than waiting until problems have arisen, as often the sooner problems are addressed and measures put in place, the lesser the chance of problems arising in the future.
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