FAQ on International Child Abduction

I have noticed that I receive many e-mails with the same questions, so I have started to post the most frequent questions – and of course the answers to them – for everyone to read for free. As this section might already answer many of your questions, I invite you to browse these FAQ before you contact me (or any other lawyer) about your case.

Before asking a new question, please read through the many comments which may already answer your questions. And if you find these FAQ useful or if you ask a new question, it would be very nice if you support this blog. Thank you!

1. What is an international child abduction?

The removal of a minor child from one country to another country without the (other) parent’s consent constitutes an international child abduction. It usually happens when parents who are from different countries split up and one parent wants to go back to his/her home country and takes the child with him/her.
It also constitutes an international child abduction if the other parent allows you to take the child to another country (usually for a holiday) and you then decide to not return the child to the country of the last residence after the agreed stay is over.

2. What is the remedy against an international child abduction?

If both countries are member states of the Hague Convention on Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, then you can request the return of the abducted child within one year of the abduction or retention.

3. What do I need to prove for a successful return of my child?

You need to prove that (1) you have at least shared custody for the child, (2) that you have been exercising that custody, e.g. by living in the same house with the child, or also by having regular visitation with the child if you live separated from it, (3) your child had established residence in your country by living there for at least a few months, (4) the other parent either abducted the child to another country or overstayed an agreed visit to another country without your consent.

4. Should I get the police involved?

In a regular case, I would recommend against it. Law enforcement won’t bring your child back without a court order and if you know where your child is staying there is nothing what you need law enforcement for. It usually only adds to the tensions between the parents, which is the last thing that you need.

5. How should I react once I find out that my (ex-)partner abducted our child to another country?

Find a lawyer in that specific country who has experience with child abductions. In Germany, you can of course contact me. For other countries, you can either look at the website of www.reunite.org or contact your Central Authority under the Hague Convention.

You should file for the return of your child as soon as possible to prevent any impression that you are giving consent to the abduction by tolerating it. You should also avoid any other behavior that could be construed or interpreted as consent, e.g. helping the other parent to get settled in the other country, sending money or personal items, working out a visitation schedule for contacts with the child in the other country, discussing which school the child should attend in the other country, etc.
At any step, you should make clear that you won’t accept the retention of the child in the other country.

6. Once I file for the return of my child, how long will it take?

Germany has vowed that child abduction proceedings in its courts should not take longer than 6 weeks, and that timeline is usually met.

7. Will I need to submit evidence about who is the better parent?

No. The child abduction proceeding under the Hague Convention is NO child custody proceeding. It does not matter who is the better parent or who spends more time with the child or anything like this. It is just a dispute about the country in which the child should live. The courts of this country will subsequently have to deal with any arguments about custody, visitation, child support, etc.

One exception to this is if there is a severe physical threat to the child if it were returned to its home country. This is a very rare exception however, which is only met if the parent asking for the return of the child is a homeless alcoholic or something of similar gravity.

8. What happens after I secure the return of my child?

As the decision is not a custody decision, the abducting parent is free to return to your country with the child that he/she had abducted. You therefore do not necessarily win physical custody for your child.
All of this needs to be sorted out in a court in your country. Most abduction cases are actually followed by cases for child custody and visitation very swiftly after the return of the child.

9. How do I prevent a child abduction if I fear that one will happen?

If a passport is needed for the child to travel (which is not the case between many European countries), then you could of course try to hold on to the passport.
If you have very specific reasons to believe that a child abduction is upcoming (e.g. you found one-way tickets that your spouse booked, or your spouse transferred all his/her money to another country and quit his/her job), you could also get a court order in your country that specifically does not allow any travel with the child, that requires the deposit of any passports with the court or police, or that alarms the border and airport authorities that this child should not be allowed to travel.

10. Which countries are member states of the Hague Convention?

A current list can be found here: www.hcch.net/index_en.php?act=conventions.status&cid=24

About Andreas Moser

Travelling the world and writing about it. I have degrees in law and philosophy, but I'd much rather be a writer, a spy or a hobo.
This entry was posted in Family Law, German Law, Law and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

102 Responses to FAQ on International Child Abduction

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  5. Helen Dudden says:

    Hello Andreas, I have just read what you have written on the subject of international child abduction, and it seems so easy when it works. But it does not always work, some countries do not comply as you know. It depends. I have written several articles about the situation, one can be the cost, another is if the parent has run with the child. Of course the effect on children can be traumatic, and produces so many problems. REMO is another subject, that too can be either hit or miss. Did you ever read the pro bono by Freshfields for The European Citizen Action Services (ECAS)? It suggests that we produce a Task Force similar to SOLVIT so we work closer together. This does make quite good reading. We need to be quicker on resolving any problems

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  9. Andreas thank you for a very informative article in this rather essoteric area of the law

  10. Elisa Borg says:

    What happens if the father does not want to sign the permit to travel to visit my parents? I want to visit my parents in Peru. My dad can not visit due to his health. Can I get a court order?

    • Yes, in that case you can try to get a court order allowing you to travel with the children for a specified time. If you overstay, it would then also constitute an international child abduction, just as if you had left without a court order.

  11. Jenny Eagle says:

    Hello Sir /Madam, I hope you can help me with my question.Im Filipina and i have my son to my german boyfriend we are not married but he acknowlege to sign the birth certificate of my son as his father.And now we having trouble he dont like to support our son.Do i have a right to ask a monthly support for our son? thank you

    • Sure, but that’s really not a question about international child abduction. In order to keep things organized, I’d prefer to open a separate list of FAQ on child support, which will take a while. Alternatively, you can of course e-mail me with your case and we can schedule a private consultation. My fee for that is 200 EUR.

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  13. Mohamad Saleh says:

    thank you so much for these valuable pieces of information, i wanted to ask, What happens in the case where one of the parents is a citizen of a country that is NOT a member of the Hague convention agreement. like Egypt for example. i am planning to get married and many have warned my future wife that i might abduct our future children and because Egypt hasn’t signed the child abduction act what can she do then to retrieve our potential kids?

    • The Hague Child Abduction convention applies if a child is abducted from one signatory state to another signatory state. The citizenship of the persons involved (including parents and child) are not relevant.

      Regarding countries that are not a signatory, it is realistically very hard to get children back. One would need to go through the local court system of that country and they would apply their national laws.

  14. Helen says:

    Hi,I have 2 children 4 and 1 years old,I came here in Germany 2 months ago and I was never happy here and I’m very depressed,I wanted to go back to my country together with the kids as I cannot leave them with their father due to drinking and smoking issues,they got dual citizenship as they are born abroad,I feel like if I stay longer here I will get crazy. Can I be charged with abduction if I take them with me back home?

  15. kojo a.owusu says:

    Can a single mother relocate to her home country after giving birth in germany with a german national.
    Got a sis who wants to relocate to africa with her 3 month old boy.

  16. kojo a.owusu says:

    Can a single mother relocate to her home country after giving birth in germany with a german national.
    Got a sis who wants to relocate n marry her long time boy friend.

  17. Starlisha says:


    I have had an ongoing issue with the father of my child. I moved with my son from my hometown worms to stuttgart to be with my significant other. since than we had a court date last october and the judge awarded me full custody and rights of where my son can live. His father was able to have every other weekend with him. I left to visit the states last month and while I was gone there was a meeting for a judge and my son to talk because his father lied and said I was abusing him. I was unaware of this meeting and they temporarily took my custody and gave it to him. My lawyer apparently did not tell them I was going to the states even though I informed my lawyer before I left. How can they take my custody when I was not even here to defend myself? And how can this be considered kidnapping when I can prove that I left for my vacation before all this came about? Any advice would be great as my lawyer is of little help right now and I am trying to find out my rights until I can get back to Germany.

    Thank you very much!!

    • This is such a complicated matter that I would really need to speak to you on Skype. It would also help if you could e-mail me all of the court paperwork that you have.
      I charge 200 EUR for such a consultation.

  18. Florian says:

    Hi Herr Moser
    I am a German citizen that has recently moved back to Germany after many years in the US. I have a three year job contract here. My wife is American and my four children have dual citizenship. She has a long complicated medical history including mental health issues and upon arrival in Germany she has not been happy and wanted to move back to the US. After several threats to do so she lied to me, took the US passports and left with the kids to the US while I was away for two nights. We have been residents of Germany for 9 months, the children like it hear and she tricked them by saying she was taking them for a week. Now that they are in the US i feel powerless. I have spoke with the FBI and the US Dept of State and will receive a call back on Tuesday. I have reported her to the Police. What is my best way of action. Do I need a lawyer here and the US or will the Ausenwaertige Amt settle things for me in the US if i get one here? Your blog is very helpful and I appreciate any feedback you could give me. We are married with no letters of specific custody to either of us. Also will she be liable because she is preventing them to go to school here because of the Schulpflicht?
    Thank YOU!!!

    • That’s a clear case of child abduction.
      In my experience, Auswärtiges Amt, State Department and law enforcement authorities are not of much help. Let’s see what you’ll hear back from them, but you will probably need to hire an attorney in the state she went to and file for the return of your children under the Hague Child Abduction Convention.

      The Schulpflicht might be an issue as well, but what’s the point of pursuing that right now? You want your children back in Germany and you need to use the Hague Child Abduction Convention for that purpose. This has priority. Everything else can be dealt with later.

    • Florian says:

      Thank you very much for your quick response. The police here said that since we are still married the Jugendamt may decide that the kids could stay with mom and go to school over there unless i convince them that they are not save there and better of here. If the law is black and white then that shouldn’t be an issue, besides them definitely not being better off over there, right?

    • That’s complete bullshit. It makes me so angry to hear stuff like that from the police.
      1) The Jugendamt cannot decide anything. They have no judicial authority, no enforcement powers and that’s not part of their job description.
      2) You have shared custody and thus nobody can remove the children from the country without the other parent’s consent.
      3) The Hague Child Abduction Convention also applies when the parents are married.
      4) The police apparently don’t even know the German Criminal Code. According to § 235 II Nr. 1 StGB, your wife committed a crime. However, as I mention in the FAQ above, I would always advise against getting the police involved.

      I cannot represent you in the US obviously, but if you want we can set up a telephonic consultation. I have the impression that you would benefit from strategic advice and from hearing how similar stories have unfolded. I do however charge 200 EUR for a telephonic consultation.

  19. Florian says:

    Mr. Moser,
    I would love to hear your input since I am feeling powerless. How and when can we do this?
    Thank you!

    • If you send me an e-mail at moser@moser-law.com, we can set up an appointment and work out the payment. Usually, Paypal and Skype are the easiest way.
      In cases of child abductions, I try to make time as soon as possible.

      Selbstverständlich können wir uns dann auch auf Deutsch schreiben/unterhalten.

  20. Digby Wain says:

    Dear Andreas, on 29 April 2015 the mother of my son who has been staying with my wife and i since 2010 arrived in South Africa to “discuss his future” with me and to take him away for what was to be a long weekend. I had applied to be his primary care giver under South African Law as I was worried that she would keep him in Germany when he went back on holiday.
    She had informed all of his teachers and housemasters (he had just started grade 8 in a very good weekly boarding school and was loving it) that only she could make decisions on behalf of our son. I then told her that this was not the case under SA Law and that the biological mother and father share in the decision making process. She then flew out on 28 April, had a 2 hour meeting with me and then spoke to the Social Worker and the Magistrate of the Childrens Court where the court was going to decide on 2 June. She had reported our son’s passport as being lost before she left Frankfurt to the German Police and on Thursday 29 April, took documentation that she had recieved from a German Magistrate indication that our son was currently living with her in Hamburg together with the police report obtained from the Police in Frankfurt airport and somehow managed to get a temporary travel document for my son. She then picked him up from school as arranged and instead of taking him away for the weekend and returning him to us on the Sunday, flew him out to Germany. I have filed a case with the Hague Convention but 8 weeks later I am still waiting on documents from the German Family Advocate to arrive at the Family Advocate here in Cape Town. I have also laid a charge of kidnapping at the South African Police Services which is going even slower….
    Can you give me any advice on how to hurry this process up? I dont have money to spend on Germany lawyers and the mother of my son knows this. We were never married although I am registered on his German Birth Certificate and he has both German and South African Citizenship.

    Also do you have any idea of the penalties that are involved for parents who abduct children?
    Any help would be much appreciated…I could send you “The Long Walk to Freedom” based on Nelson Mandela’s life if you like…not sure if it is on your list…
    Digby Wain

    • 1) Don’t bother about the police. That needlessly complicates things.
      2) The only way to expedite the proceeding is through a lawyer, I am afraid.

    • Digby Wain says:

      Do you have someone that I can contact to help me?

  21. Florian says:

    Dear Mr. Moser
    I wanted to share the bittersweet news with you and your blog community that my children are now back with me in Germany (see blog post from 24.5.2015). I wanted to thank you first of all for the open forum and expert advice you offer for free to all. I know for myself this has been an extremely emotionally charged affair and I often felt extremely powerless to do anything. For those of you going through similar situations I can only say that taking a step back, assessing the situation and going through the system worked for me, although it was a lengthy process (6 weeks from abduction to return) and at times I felt like simply flying over there and grabbing them. I ended up going through the US State Dept directly since the recommended way, going through the german justice department and having them invoke the Hague convention with the US would have A: taken more time and B: cost more money since I would have had to translate all the documents from English to German. I filled out a Hague convention form as if though my kids were abducted from the US TO somewhere else, something which my representative at the state dept said shouldn’t be a problem and wasn’t. it was nice since I was assigned a country officer at the state department and had very good access to him. They also sent a letter to my wife and the court instructing them of the Hague convention and proceedings which I feel sped things along with the judge. My lawyer in New Hampshire simply stated that the kids had their habitual residence in Germany, that they were well integrated in the community with school etc, that they were removed without my permission and that they had been int he US less than one year. The other important thing was that he offered the court prove that a process of determining custody does exist in Germany. With this the s=court found that it had no jurisdiction in this matter and ordered the kids and personal property returned to Germany.
    I can not thank Andreas Moser enough..the personal consult i had was money well spent and I would highly recommend it to anyone going through this.
    Best of luck to all.

    • Hello Florian,
      thank you very much for your kind words!!
      I am so relieved that your children are back in Germany and I hope that this episode won’t leave any lasting negative effects.
      I know that 6 weeks are a long time for a parent not seeing their children, but for a legal proceeding it’s still quite swift.

    • Chevas says:

      How may I contact you to get clarity on your story. Did you go through the whole convention case? Did you fly to the US for the court case? Did she not appeal the case, since you said yours only took 6 weeks. Please email me as soon as you can. Thanks!

    • Florian says:

      Hi Chevas,
      I would be more than happy to share my personal story with you but please note that I have 0 legal knowledge. I will not be able to advice you on how to proceed, for that you should contact professionals. I would recommend taking Andreas up on his consult offer. He provided me with much clarity and, most importantly, peace of mind. If you tell me how I can contact you I will establish email contact.
      Best wishes

  22. Noor says:

    Dear Mr. Moser,
    My niece is German but was living in Yemen since her mother is Yemeni and divorced from my brother ( who is German living in Kenya) With the war in Yemen we advised her to come to Kenya where my nieces father is but instead the Yemeni mother somehow convinced the authorities to evacuate her to Germany without my brothers consent and in total secrecy.!Does this qualify under subject of international child abduction. I notified the German embassy in Kenya if it is of any help. Please advise .

  23. rhian says:

    hello Andreas,
    i was wondering if you could offer some advice, my friend is german married to a british man and have currently been living in scotland for just over 2 years, the time before this they lived in germany. They have 2 children 7 and 4. they are going through a marriage breakdown, and my friend wants to return to germany to be around her family for support, but her ex husband currently lives at the home they own with the children, is there any way she can take her children with her back home to germany? he has beaten her although it was reported to the police nothing came of it, what support is out there for her and where should she turn first.

    thank you very much for your time

    • The only way for your friend is through the Scottish legal system. They both live there, it’s the only place that has jurisdiction over them, and if she left without the father’s permission or a court order, she would commit an international child abduction.

    • rhian says:

      thank you so much for your reply, she currently works, but all her monies is going into the family home she no longer lives in, and then trying to get by whilst living at her current property, will she be entitled to legal aid ?

    • That’s a question that a Scottish lawyer can answer. I am a German lawyer.

  24. rhian says:

    thank you andreas, for your time hopefully things will work out, and we can get mum and children back to germany safely where they belong.

    rhian :)

  25. Mercedes says:

    Hi andreas, I am Filipina and married German guy. I want to ask you about my situations. I have 5years old daughter, her father never been support her since birth and I want to bring her in Germany to live with us. What is the procedure and easy way to bring her? I hope you can give me advise. thank a lot!

    • Because this has nothing to do with child abduction, it will have to wit until I put up FAQ on family reunion. (Or you can contact me personally and we can set up an appointment, but I charge 200 EUR for that).

  26. Heidi says:

    Hi Andreas, I am a German national but also hold an Autralian passport in a different name ( My father was German but my mothers husband adopted me when I was 1 and I took his last name). I hold full custody of my son at the moment and have lived apart from his father who I was not married to for over a year and a half.

    I now have another child (girl) and I am still with the father. I hold full custody at the moment of my eldest and wish to move to Australia where my family resides. I am worried that if the father applies and gets full custody I wont be able to leave Germany but I do hold as I said earlier, a passport in a different name and the Australian authorities have already consented to give my son a passport in that name as he also holds Australian citizenship.

    I guess I am wondering what would happen in that circumstance. Can the German authorities still take my child back to Germany? He very rarely visits him and hasnt paid a cent towards maintanence.

    Im sure this is a strange case but would greatly appreciate some advise! Regards,

    • The different names and passports have no bearing on family law because it would still be the same child.
      But if you have sole custody, you are free to move with the respective children.

  27. linda appleby says:

    My brother is british his partner german child is also British lived in UK since birth.
    Hi my brothers ex partner whom he had equal shared custody of their child each week has up and left overnight without telling anyone upon her arrival in germany she text her job in uk to say she would not be returning. My brother reported this and has a solicitor however they have advised he continues paying her the amount agreed between them each month to help support the child prior to the abduction is this right.

    • It depends on whether he wants to get the child back to the UK. If yes, he should stop all payments because they could be interpreted as acquiescence with the abduction.

  28. Akshay says:

    Hello Andreas,
    I am extremely glad to have found your expert advice services concerning matters to bilingual couples and child custody. I am originally from India and moved to Germany a little more than a year back. My wife is a German and we have a 1.4 year old son. We’ve had a lot of hardships in our relationship since the time our little one arrived. Our problems stand on multiple levels. She is extremely erratic, violent with severe mood swing issues that frequently has led to very unpleasant arguments and a very disturbed environment for our child.

    Also the fact I am finding it really hard to find a job has financially worsened our situation. I am thinking of relocating back to my home town in India Though I have not 100% fixed on it. I strongly believe that our disturbed relationship should not have any negative influence on my child’s upbringing. Secondly the fact that I am not able to handle these everyday derogatory comments and being looked low with my present state of being unemployed. Which has had a bad blow on my self esteem.

    Though my wife genuinely knows that with my professional experience, its not easy for me here in Germany as its expected that I should have a native level proficiency in German. With all sincerity, right the same week I immigrated to Germany in 2014, I ensured to enroll in a local integration program that lasted for a good six months and I attained an advanced proficiency in German. Securing a score of 98% in the deutschtest für zuwanderer from the Bundesamt für Migration und Flüchtlinge. Something which I am often appreciated by many locals including my wife. But sadly it has had hardly any impact on me being employed. Also the situation that my wife is working has provided me little very time to look for a job until very recently in August that we found a place for my son in a local Kindergarten.

    I am really concerned about my wife’s extreme temper and how it may affect my child. As some of the patterns I saw was pretty awful and extreme, especially those high pitched screams and many times physical violence too. She surely needs help but sadly I have tried a countless times but it hardly had any impact on her and I am very helpless here as I have hardly any friends or family apart my in-laws.

    I am in a very helpless state locallyree h and have no idea what legal options I have here in Germany if I can further my stay and work through the separation process locally. I have residence permit valid till April 2017. If I relocate to my home country, Is there a way that I can ensure that the local authorities in Germany are informed about these problems and her personality ? and can I obtain any kind of legal guardianship here in Germany ? Also what are my legal options as a parent/father here in Germany ? Also if I move back to India are there any specific rights that still are applicable ?. We were married in Denmark, I am not sure if that has any impact on this issue.

    Your advise on this matter is extremely appreciated.

    Thank you.

    Warm regards,

    • Congratulations on the excellent result in the German exam!
      There are two options:
      – We can set up a full telephonic/Skype consultation for which I charge 200 EUR, so that we can discuss all of your questions in detail and at length.
      – Or you make a small donation (top right corner of this page) and I will answer your questions on this blog.

    • Ben says:

      Good day Moses…… My German girl is pregnant for me, and my visa of being here has expired, when is the right time for us to go for the signed of fatherhood??

    • Please let me know when you made what donation (see button on the top right), then I can answer your question. Please also mention what visa you had and what citizenship you have.

  29. jen says:

    Can a german parent living in the usa take their american citizen child back to germany to avoid domestic violence that usa is not helping to protect the child. Mother has temporary sole custody order , parents were never married! Father lost his one day a week visits due to failure to communicate about injuries child kept coming home with. Basically, my question is, is there some kind of asylum for a german citizen parent going back to germany with their american child. Father in usa is not an american citizen( found out he is illegally in the us. From another country),he is on birth cert and so how would the german mother go back to germany with her child and get the child german citenship so child can go to school etc

    • Why is the sole custody order only temporary? Are there still court proceedings going on?
      I would need to look at the whole paperwork and also learn more about the exact circumstances. Please feel free to e-mail me at moser@moser-law.com, but please note that I charge 400 EUR for a consultation. Natürlich können Sie mir auch gerne auf Deutsch schreiben.

      Regarding the citizenship:
      1. This is irrelevant for the question of an international child abduction.
      2. With a German mother, it sounds to me like the child already HAS German citizenship. You can simply apply for a German passport at the nearest German consulate.
      3. Just to clarify one of your comments: German citizenship is not a requirement for attending school in Germany.

    • jen says:

      Vielen danke fur alles Information. ja this is still an ongoing court case. The german embassy says they need fathers passport and consent because he is on birth cerificate which i cant obtain Thats why i was needing to know if i can just go back to germany and how i would get my sons german paperwork taken care of in germany since i have lots of photos and doctors discharge papers of injuries and sickness 95% of the time when he was having visitation

    • jen says:

      One question i forgot to ask was about getting my son to germany to flee domestic violence and court corruption Since i have a temporary order of sole custody and the father will obviously not sign a consent to travel letter 😭

    • I don’t think you forgot to ask that question, you just forgot to e-mail me all the court documents and pay my fee.

  30. Naz says:

    Hi I’m British and my waif German we in our way to get divorce can I keep my one year and 3 months in England with me as my waif she want back to work and no one can look after my boy my boy have British passport and got German passport so can I keep him with me ?
    Many thanks

  31. Charles says:

    Hi,I’m a South african father who son went to see a dieing grandmother in Mannheim Freudenheim Germany,after the supposed visit my wife and son went to see family in switzerland as requested as her wishes to see her gran for the last time,after leaving South Africa her behaviour changed from nice swiss wife to some one I didn’t know,she promised me on many numerous occasions that I can speak to our son,but it stayed on empty promises,first was that she didn’t have WI-Fi everyday,then it was not having money,then she was waiting to meet up with her mom to get money,and ended in a personal attack that I said so many ugly things to her she doesn’t know what to believe anymore,I asked questions regarding why I can’t speak to the child,she blocked my entire family and friends she knew here in south africa where we were living together,she removed the child from school without any consent from education dept head,she left on false pretentions,spreading accusations of abuse,which came out after she left,people only started realising what happened after she broke contact with everyone,I gave consent with affidavid from police aswell as unabriged birth sertificate,she is a swiss national and our child a dual citizen,he is 8yrs old and we are married 9 and half yrs,my cosent was to germany and switzerland,she didn’t return on cosent expiry date claiming she found work and requested consent extension which I didn’t allow due to agreement,I filed case with swiss central authorities,they are still trying to locate child,I filed my case with swiss authories,must I also file with german authorities,I’m devastated not being able to speak to my child in 2 and half months,very confusing time for me,do u have any advice for me

    • The first thing would be to find your child. Then, I would hire a lawyer in that jurisdiction because lawyers with experience in child abduction cases are usually much more efficient than the Central Authorities.

  32. Ca says:

    I left my home to move to germany with my south African born son birth certificate states mo father, his dad was not around for the registration. We moved to be with his dad and ee ended the relationship i have been a single mom with full custody his dad is a every second weekend dad has a life new gf and working i am still on social helo due to not been able to work full time as a single mom, and have always been unhappy here. I want to leave the country to another part of Europe where i can better my life work and integrate into the community, but of course with my son . Official i have never given half of custody away my son has a German passport but is only registered in South Africa. BC as me listed as his parent. What do i need to do to be able to take him and move away ? How does that work.
    Why should i have to stay in a country where i am not from in order for my son’s father to have s relationship is that not responsiblyof dad. I would of course offer all school holidays to him to make up for his normal visitation.
    Any information would be of help.

    • If you have sole custody, you are free to move with your son.

    • Ca says:

      Wow that was a fast response. . Thank you.
      I guess for me to move it would be best to get a lawyer to deal with it? Like do it correctly or how does one go about that. Because even if i have full custody in Germany father’s have a right to be in contact. I’m just wanting to cross my T and dot my I kind of thing.

    • You need no lawyer to move. You just get on a train and move.
      Obviously it would be the right thing to inform the father and to assure regular contact and visitation. But even for that you don’t need a lawyer as long as the two of you can find some agreement.

  33. Chevas Stewart says:

    Hello, I’m hear to share my story. My American daughter was abducted by her German mother from here in Georgia, USA to Germany. I will try to keep my story short eventhough it’s a long drama saga. I will be glad to assist with any questions. Make sure you dads have your rights to your child. I both legitimized, had joint custody, and signed the new birth certificate. For me everything was set in place as I was going for primary custody, since the mother was doing everything she can to alienate me from my child since her and I stopped “fooling” around (although we weren’t a couple). Once her antics were running out and noticed by the judge, she planned her escape to Germany. We had ALL bases covered, but for some reason she was able to take my child out of the country. This was a total shock. Well we found out 2 things. USA has WEAK exit controls and she committed the crime of lying to the passport agency saying the father is unknown and provided them with the original birth certificate in which I did not sign (because I had to get a DNA test done). So then my journey to get my child began. I’m a country boy, barely left my state moreless traveled outside the USA. So the mother had just that much hatred because I no longer had any love interest in her that she wanted me totally out of my daughters life. First plan of action is to coordinate with Dept. of State, Office of children issues. Which they will tell you about the Hague Convention, read up on this. Next go get an order from the judge to require the return of the child immediately. Next, ready Mr. Mosers blog here that he has created. LIFESAVER! He has provided the blueprint and has minimized the stress and worryiness of searching for a German lawyer abroad. During your fight for your child you have to maintain good eating, sleep, and health or you will be too weak to withstand the storm. Talk to the Dept of Missing Children and file a missing child case. They also will assist with funding for your trip abroad!! For me, my German lawyer and the German courts saw things keen and through the matter of law. They listened to the mother’s falsified dramatic lies, i had my proof of EVERYTHING (make sure you are overly prepared), all this was decent, but the heart of my child stole the show as she tearfully showed the Germans she was intensely missing her father :( . After the district court approved the return of my child, of course the mother appealed to the higher court and when I went to Germany again, the panel of judges unanimously confirmed the return of my daughter back to the states, and reminded the mother she is skating on thin ice for the multiple crimes she has committed. Take some time to enjoy the country the left behind parent had to visit. Once my daughter was returned home, the custody proceedings continued. Each state is different and each case is difference. Mine worked out in me and my daughters favor :). Try your hardest not to carry a grudge, hate, and bitterness for the abducting parent. Hopefully in your situation things can be amended. A child needs both parents…..if they are “fit” to parent. Good luck to you and your child!

    • Hello Chevas,
      thank you very much for sharing your story! It’s important and helpful because too many victims of child abduction (usually it’s the fathers who are left behind) think that the law won’t help them, particularly not in a foreign country. But as you have experienced and write about, the courts in Germany are quite professional. I have had many cases where the foreign parent won against the German mother. But as you said, it does require over-preparation.
      I am glad I could help and I thank you again for your generosity!

    • Ricky says:

      Thanks for this information. One question I have is, was your child born in the USA or Germany? Did your child have a dual citizenship?

    • For the application of the Hague Convention on Child Abduction, place of birth and the citizenship of the child (and of the parents) are completely irrelevant.

  34. Anonymous says:

    I have a question: I am Australian; mother of a 4 year old child. The father is German, we currently live together in Germany. We are unmarried. However, I want to return to Australia with my child and my partner cannot/will not come to Australia. What options do I have to (a) return to Australia with my son (b) ensure that no harm or detriment comes to our son? (he is not a ‘present’ father, and is not often there for his son, on the other hand, he would not agree that my son and I go to Australia alone.. Am I ‘stuck’ here?

    • That depends on whether you established shared custody. If not, you are free to move with your son. If yes, you would need to get a court order from a German court.

  35. Pingback: Advice on litigating a child custody case in Germany | The Happy Hermit

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  37. Thao Tran says:

    I am visiting Germany with my son who was born in Germany but I am a u. s citizen, my son only has a german passport and now its time for me to go back to the U.S and the father of son is not complying and destroyed my sons passport. We are not legally married in Germany. What can I do to leave with my son to the U.S without any trouble and without the father? He and I are not going to continue the relationship and I want to know my rights here

  38. Naveed. says:

    I have a child of 2. i have all the rights of child. Can i take him to my country forever.? Can other parent bring that child back if the other parent has no right after giving me all the rights.

    Please guide me.

    • It depends on the two countries involved and what you mean by “all the rights”. It’s rare that one parent doesn’t have any rights regarding the child. Do you mean legal custody?

  39. Anonymous says:

    I can’t stop my tears falling down my cheeks while reading… As if there is no hope for me and my baby to live a life away from his father who is abusing me emotionally…im a teacher and have good family reputation in my home land…but now, living in humiliation..am I really in the dead end and die as a martyr?

  40. Rana says:

    Kindly SIr,
    if my child is German and the Dad is holding his passport and I want to go to visit my parents in Italy , Should I have any trouble on Boarders?

    • That depends from where you are going to Italy, on the custody of your child (shared or sole) and on whether the father agrees with the trip.

  41. Mary says:

    Could I be successful in getting a change of residency from Germany to go back to Britain after a UK court ruled my children’s place of habitual residency was Germany. We only lived in Germany for 7 months and both children speak English? I am still married to their father.

    • That would depend on the reasons for the move and the reasons for staying and how they would be balanced. To remove children from one parent usually requires very strong arguments. But in your case, because you have only been living in Germany for 7 months, it also depends on the plans you had (together) for the move and the stay in Germany (was it temporary, tentative, conditional or long-term) and how easy it would for the father to move to the UK to continue being near the children.

      There are so many factors that play a role in this, that I could only give you a clear answer about your chances if we discuss the background, your plans, the father’s wishes and the situation of the children both in Germany and their possible/hypothetical situation after a return to the UK.
      I’d be happy to discuss all of that with you, but we should set aside a few hours and I would charge 300 EUR for that.

  42. JB says:

    What if both parents and all children are United States citizens, just moved to Germany 2 months ago? If mother takes the children back to the US and files for divorce, can the abusive husband claim international Abduction against her if none of them are German citizens? (No dual citizenship, they are purely US citizens only ).

    • The citizenship of the parties involved is completely irrelevant in international child abduction cases (as it is in custody cases).

      In your case, the decisive question would be if the children already had “habitual residence” in Germany after two months. That depends on the circumstances of the case, the reasons behind the move and the plans for the stay.

      If you want, you can contact me at moser@moser-law.com and then we can talk about your case in detail. Based on my experience, I will then be able to give you a very accurate prediction of how a Hague Convention case would be decided.
      I charge 200 EUR for such a consultation.

  43. Jo says:

    I have questions is it possible that the father of my kids have removal Custody when he is violent person,?

  44. Butt says:

    How I conteckt u

  45. Cora cardente says:

    Hallo Andreas.
    I would like to ask for knowing about the costudy.
    I am single mother of my one child and I am not married of the father of my child.
    We’re always argue over the sharing costudy.
    I don’t want to share at the moment the costudy cause I am afraid it might be makes me more cause trouble if we share.

    Is it the father had a chance to get a share costudy?
    His a good father of my child but not me.

  46. Peter Roland says:

    hello Sir,
    i have a brief question.. my wife delivered our child in 2018 and both live in Nigeria. I live in Germany and had my German citizenship in 2019. Planning to bring them to join me..can i apply for my child German citizen from abroad or they have to get in to Germany first.

    • Because you were not yet German when your child was born, neither your child nor your wife qualify for immediate German citizenship.
      You would need to apply for family reunion (§ 28 AufenthG) first and then, after a few years and once they speak German, they can apply for German citizenship.

  47. Elena Gonzalez says:

    Hi, my husband who is german is planning to leave Venezuela with my son who is also german. We are still married and planning to file for divorce in June. He is planning to fly out without my consent and move to Germany with my son. What are my options? Should I communicate with the German Embassy here in Venezuela? How should I communicate with German Authorities?

    • Hello Elena,
      I will be very happy to help, but you have probably read that I reserve my legal advice for people who are supporting my blog.
      Otherwise, you could of course book a paid consultation, for which I would charge 200 EUR.

  48. Ana Vieira says:

    I am a foreign single mother and have a son with a German man, I decided to share custody with him becouse I tough it was better for the kid, things are not working out as I tought it would be, how can I get full custody back?

  49. Yaw Kankam-Boadu says:

    Dear Mr Moser, very interesting reading your information.
    It seems I am in a predicament in this regard. My wife and I separated 2 years ago and have been divorced for nearly a year now. She works for Auswaertiges Amt and was posted to Lome in Togo West Africa, where we have lived since August 2017. We had agreed a shared custody of our two children to have them every other week.
    I travelled to Ghana, the neighbouring country to search for employment and was there 2 weeks, upon my return, I expected to pick the children for my weekly turn. She informed me they were going on a few days vacation up country. This was last week Wednesday 25th August. This morning I received a text from here saying she has excepted a posting in Turkey and has left the country with the children and her new partner and are currently at her Fathers house in Germany. She mentioned in her text she retains sole custody of the children. I am in shock and don’t know what to do. She is a German diplomat.
    Kind regards
    Yaw Kankam-Boadu

    • Hello Yaw,
      predicament is a mild word for that situation. Uff.

      The problem is that Togo hasn’t signed up to the Hague Child Abduction Convention. :-(
      So, you would need to go through regular German or Turkish family law and family courts, depending on the whereabouts of your children. Depending on what the divorce decree says about custody and on your opportunity to travel to those courts, this is a steep uphill battle.

  50. Wendy says:

    Good day my name is Wendy . Myself and my husband got divorced. I’d love to move to the Uk because of study I’m finding it difficult to learn German .I have live in Germany for 6 years and I still can’t speak proper Deutsch. Even my children can’t speak . I always want to be a nurse but it’s sad the language is difficult for me
    I’m Nigerian my ex husband is Spanish .
    Can I move to uk with my kids without problems ? I have two boys. 7 and 4 years old

    • Hello Wendy,
      it depends on what the divorce decree says about child custody and on how involved the father is in the children’s lives. Does he live in Germany or in Spain?
      Could you and the children move to the UK without any immigration hurdles?
      And, before answering in detail, I would also appreciate a donation to the blog of at least 50 EUR or so. Thank you very much!

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