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This forum offers parents the opportunity to voice their own experiences of international parental child abduction, and related issues, and to share useful information with others in a similar situation.

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Time Limit?

by Anita Lawrence / Posted 07/09/2010 / Updated 13/11/2010

How long do you have to start HC proceedings? Is there a time limit?


From anna / Posted: 08/09/2010
I am new to this as well and just starting it but from all the research I did, it should be started within a year of the abduction. The more time passes, your child might integrate better to the new environment and make new friends and the risk could be that a court will decide against taking a child out of his "known" environment that it has become accustomed to.
From Jean / Posted: 10/09/2010
I believe you have to start proceedings within one year
From Rebecca / Posted: 11/09/2010
Yes, you have to instigate the proceedings within 12 months of finding out out your child has been taken, but the sooner the better for you.
From Anita Lawrence / Posted: 13/09/2010
OK a little background on this. My new husband´s ex-wife took their daughter from the US over 5 years ago. She took her to England. My husband never said she could take her BUT has known all along where she lives and has had contact. He has never paid child support. He has now moved to Northern Ireland to live (he´s originally from here). He sees his daughter periodically. Can he do anything to get her back or get custody? Would his ex-wife be jailed for kidnapping?
From kellen / Posted: 23/10/2010
How could he prove kidnapping, when he didn´t object for 5 years? Did she have sole legal custody 5 years ago? Did he have legal visitation? Whether there was a crime would depend on those answers,and proving it is something else, and he´s moved from the country with jurisdiction to consider charges.

Why would he want custody when he hasn´t supported his child financially? Why would any judge move a child from a mother and country she´s lived in for 5 years, to live with a father (who never paid child support) and new wife in another country?
From Rebecca / Posted: 24/10/2010
Hi Anita, this would definitely not fall under the HC and I think that as a family you now need to question the reasons for ´getting her back´ or ´getting custody´. This little girl is not a possession that a parent can claim back when they decide they want to, and for the last five years this little girl has lived in England with her mum, will presumably be at school here, have activities here (dancing, brownies maybe) and will be settled in her situation, albeit she sees her dad ´periodically´. His ex wife will not be jailed for kidnapping, because although at the time she would have been ´guilty´ of parental child abduction, your husband did nothing about it, even though he knew where she was. The status quo has now been set and a court will see that the little girl now lives with her mum in a settled life in England. How old is his daugher now? Has she been asked her view on being whisked away from her mum and her lifestyle to go and live in Ireland with a dad she has only seen periodically (and has never contributed to her upbringing) or is it just assumed that she can be taken away from all that? As a parent of a young child whose father lives overseas and has little to do with him, I can only suggest that your husband tries to make contact with his ex with a view of slowly building a more solid relationship with his daughter which starts with phone calls and post cards, him visiting her here in the UK with family/friends present to start with, and then once a relationship and trust has been established then you can move on from there. If you can do this without the courts being involved then that will be great, but otherwise he would need to instigate court proceedings in the UK for a contact order, and if his ex objects, then you will have a lengthy court battle ahead. My son is very happy and settled in his situation with me, and if his dad was to return to this country and then try and get custody of him it would completely turn his life as he knows it upside down. This is not about punishing his ex wife for taking his daughter 5 years ago, this is about the future of a little girl, who if dealt with the right way, could have a good relationship in time with both of her natural parents and you. Please ask your husband to carefully consider how he goes ahead with this and not to jump in all guns blazing as this will get his ex wife on the defensive right from the start.
From Norma / Posted: 30/10/2010
Anita, Your new husband knew where they were and didn´t officially object. So there´s no abduction and no jail. Besides, it would do him no good to get a ruling that the child should be returned to the US - because he´s not there. Why would he want to take the child from her mother and her school after 5 years? If he wanted to be in her life he could have moved to England - and he could pay child support.

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