International Child Abduction

This is every parent's nightmare: Someone has taken your child without your knowledge or consent. It is even more devastating if that someone turns out to be a former partner or spouse. The helplessness you feel increases exponentially if you suspect he or she has taken your child across the border or overseas.

We at Westside Family Law waste no time when faced with international child abduction cases. Our lawyers work with all kinds of families in Vancouver, including those from multicultural backgrounds where the possibility of international travel may be more common. We will take immediate steps to locate your child, stop the travel if possible and bring your child home safely.

If you suspect your child has been or is about to be removed from BC by your former spouse, call us at 604-800-8853. Retaining the services of a lawyer experienced with international child abduction can make the recovery of your child that much quicker.

If Your Child Is Missing, Here's What We Can Do

You have likely contacted the local police, your child's school and any other relatives if your child is missing. These are all good places to start. When you contact one of our Westside lawyers, we can:

  • Alert national authorities such as the Vulnerable Children's Consular Unit, a division of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada that specializes in child abduction cases
  • Contact Passport Canada to determine whether a passport in your child's name was registered and whether we can invalidate it so he or she cannot be taken outside the country
  • Work with authorities and nongovernmental organizations to locate your child
  • Advise you on obtaining a custody order if you do not already have one
  • Protect your interests and those of your child in Court

Hopefully, these efforts will lead to the recovery of your child before he or she has crossed the border. If not, we still have options to pursue.

What If My Child Is Already In Another Country?

If your child has been located outside Canada, your case isn't over. It may sound counterintuitive, but you may want to first try negotiating with the abducting parent, something we can assist you with. It's possible he or she has had second thoughts about the move or may be amenable to an agreement whereby your child can be returned to Canada. Such a voluntary return is the best-case scenario.

You may also file an application with the Hague Convention, an international body of law governing child abduction, adoption and other international child-related issues between member countries. Our lawyers can assist you with this application and the process that follows. This could mean working with international authorities and lawyers in the country where your child was taken.

Hague Convention cases are complicated and happen quickly. We'll keep you abreast of every detail and protect your rights and interests throughout.

Some countries do not participate in the Hague Convention. This can raise additional challenges. In most cases, it could mean seeking a settlement or custody agreement according to the laws of the country where your child was taken. Our aim in these cases is to put you in touch with professionals in the target jurisdiction who can assist you with this process, while we continue to manage the Canadian aspects of your case.

We Offer Advice For Immediate Action

At Westside Family Law, we're committed to pursuing the right course to protect the child you love. Our lawyers will work tirelessly to obtain successful results in the most efficient and effective manner possible. Contact our office by calling 604-800-8853 today.