What can you do?
When the risk exists that your (ex)partner will take the child to another country:
- make sure you inform family and relevant people involved (school, city council,...).
- Consult an international mediator to prevent the situation to escalate or action is being taken on the child.
- Ask the local authority to state that the partner cannot leave the country with the child or hand out an ID-card or passport, without your permission.
- inform the police to set up a ‘ warning sign’ for the parent that might take the children abroad.
- In case, consult a lawyer and obtain a judgement through the local legal procedure, so your rights towards your child are confirmed and preventive measures can be mentioned. When you obtain the recognition/official confirmation in a judgement through the Belgian judicial system (with an Exequatur) to be able to execute your rights (like the parental authority) abroad, you will feel more secure.
* Bare in mind that when your child has a double nationality, a different authority can hand out an ID-card or passport. Contact the embassy of the other nationality for more information!
* If the risk exists to be abducted to a country where a passport is required, you can add your child to the PASBANN-list in the Passport Service of the Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs: FOD Buitenlandse Zaken, Tweede Directie Personenverkeer, Karmelietenstraat 15, 1000 Brussel.
* A Belgian judgement will not always be recognised or ‘executed’ abroad. Check your information.
- Call Child Focus to open a file on the free number 116000. A social assistant will check with you what the different options are, contact the different stakeholders and try to find a solution for the return of the child.
- Consult an international mediator to prevent the situation to escalate or action is being taken against or with the child. If a dialogue with the disappearing parent is possible the communication will be restored or set up with a mediator through different communication channels : skype, zoom, whereby, email, whatsapp, telephone, ...
- When parents come to an agreement through a mediator (or co-mediators), a judicial procedure can be avoided. This will certainly be much cheaper, quicker and more efficient.
- When the communication has stopped or is non-existant with the abducting parent, contact the list of recognised mediators in cross border conflicts through Child Focus Belgium, IKO in the Netherlands or MiKK in Germany.
- When mediation is not possible, consult a lawyer (with knowledge of International Family Law).
- Check if an international convention with the country where the child is taken to, exists and apply for return through the Belgian Central Authority.
- If there is none, go to the Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Through Embassies and Consulates they will help you trace the child and find a solution.
- you can go to the police and file a complaint against the abducting parent. A criminal procedure has an effect on the other efforts made... When your child has disappeared and you don’t know if the other parent took it or not, go to go the police as soon as possible. Come to me to advise you to find your child back safe and sound !
Research states clearly that the chances of return of the child are higher and the agreement between the parents is more often executed and lasting when an end has been brought to the abduction. You reach an efficient solution for your international family conflict before or after the disappearance of your child. I will guide you to set up a clear agreement holding future arrangements for you as parents and between you and your child. Make an appointment to clear out the situation, point out the real problem.
My focus is based on a longlasting expertise and transparant approach.