International Children Law
At OTS Solicitors we are best known for our immigration law expertise. Set up as a specialist immigration law practice, founders Oshin Shahiean and Teni Shahiean soon realised that those looking for business and individual immigration advice often also needed help with international children law. Out of that seed of an idea grew the OTS Solicitors family team.
In this blog, we take a look at how our family law solicitors can help you if you are looking for an expert in international children law.
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With clients from around the world, OTS Solicitors help a lot of international families including British citizens, those with settled status (under the EU Settlement Scheme or with indefinite leave to remain), and those in the UK on time-limited visas. It is a common mistake to think that English children law does not apply to your children just because you are not settled in the UK or you or your children do not have British citizenship or dual citizenship.
The English court has jurisdiction over what custody or contact arrangements are in your child’s best interests if your child is domiciled or habitually resident in England or Wales. Domicile and habitual residence are legal concepts. Just because your child is in the UK on a dependant visa it does not mean that the court in your home country has jurisdiction to make court decisions in respect of your child.
It is best to speak to a family law solicitor about English court jurisdiction rather than make assumptions. If you do not take specialist children law legal advice you could end up being accused of parental child abduction because you left the UK with your child without getting the other parent’s agreement or a court order.
These types of international child law disputes are not confined to where one parent is a British citizen and the other parent is in the UK on a spouse visa or skilled worker visa or business visa. Children law disputes about one parent moving overseas with their child also occur where both parents are British citizens or when both parents are in the UK on visas, such as under the global business mobility route.
Do not ignore international children law
Some families think that they can ignore international family law either because they believe that the law does not apply to their family circumstances or that their husband or wife will not be able to use international children law once their child has been taken out of the country. Family solicitors specialising in international children law say it is vital to understand the law, and its relevance to you, before you make decisions about your child’s upbringing that could result in your being accused of child abduction or your child being made the subject of a return order to the UK or a return order to their home country.
Return orders say a child has to be returned to the country with jurisdiction to decide on the child’s best interests and future. A return order may be sought if the English court has jurisdiction over your child but you have left the UK with your child without first securing the written agreement of the other parent and anyone else with parental responsibility for the child or an order of the court. Alternatively, a return order may be made where a child has been sent to the UK, perhaps with a grandparent or aunt, but not all those with parental responsibility for the child agreed to the move.
International children law and extending your family
International children law is not just about worries about child abduction or relocating overseas with your child or returning to your home country or a third country. International children lawyers are also called upon to help those who want to extend their family and have chosen an international route to do so. This can be by:
- International adoption
- International surrogacy
- Caring for the child of an overseas-based extended family member by bringing the child to the UK
All these routes to extending your family require both international children law advice as well as individual immigration law advice.
Extending your family through international routes is not an easy option but our family law solicitors understand just how rewarding it is when you secure your adoption order, parental order, or the visa required to enable the child to obtain UK entry clearance.
How can OTS Solicitors help?
Whether you have questions about international or national children law our dedicated team of family lawyers can help you and answer your questions on court jurisdiction, child abduction, relocation, and return orders, the operation of the Hague Convention and the return of children, child arrangement orders and prohibited steps orders in the UK and the enforcement of UK children orders.
Our expert family law solicitors work closely with our specialist immigration team so you get joined up family law and immigration legal advice. That is essential in many cases involving international families. For example, if your partner is in the UK on a partner visa and wants to take your child back to their home country or if you are in the UK on a spouse visa and your sponsoring partner is telling you that you will have to leave the UK because your relationship has ended but your child must stay in the UK.
We understand that international family law is complicated, especially when there are immigration and visa issues to consider. That’s why our friendly experts will break down the complexities of international children law so you understand your best options and can see a way forward.
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