Contact in Spain
Spain: +34 932 20 44 40
UK: 0800 098 8033
US: +1 415 651 8449

Parental child abduction – Judicial Processes in Spain

By using the term ‘ international abduction of minors’, we refer to the unlawful relocation of a child to a country different from the one in which they normally are resident, violating the right of custody attributed to another individual or institution, including those cases where either of the parents moves with the child to another country and impedes the exercise of the other parent’s visitation rights.

Unfortunately, examples of this type of activity can be found all too frequently, whereby one of the parents,  searching for work, or indeed, fleeing the country, deprives the other parent of the right to custody or visitation of the child they have in common. There are however judicial procedures to deal with these types of situation – both to prevent them from occurring in the first place and to restore matters to how they were previously, if a child has already been abducted.


As we know, prevention is always better than cure, and the Spanish Civil Code allows a series of measures to be taken in order to avoid children in danger from being abducted. In particular, Article 103.1 allows for measures to be taken that:

  • Prohibit a child from exiting the country, without prior judicial approval;
  • Prohibit the issuing of a passport to a child or the removal of same if it has already been issued;
  • Require judicial approval before any change in the child’s home address

Retroactive Action

If the abduction has already taken place, the matter is obviously much more complicated, though a number of options exist: in the first place, it is necessary to check if the State to which the child has been illegally taken is a signatory to the Hague Convention of the  25th of October, 1980. If this is the case, proceedings can be initiated via the ‘Central Authority’, which is the tribunal that monitors compliance with the Convention and which coordinates directly with the relevant authorities in each country (each country that is a signatory to the Convention must establish their own Central Authority).

If the country to which the children have been taken is not a signatory to the Hague Convention, then it would remain for diplomatic solutions to be attempted via the embassy of the relevant country or by taking legal action directly in the country concerned. Of course, to contemplate such action would require legal advice in that State.

European Union

Within the member states of the European Union, instead of the Hague Convention, it is mandatory to make an application under Regulation 2201/2003 which regulates the competencies, recognition and enforcement of judicial decisions related to matrimonial matters and issues relating to parental responsibility and  makes the competent judicial authority, the court of first instance.

You may be interested in the following service...

Client testimonials

"Miguel is very clear, precise, calm and professional. His advice has been welcome and he has responded promptly to my enquiries, even at the weekend.

So far, so good. The tax return for last year has been filed and the application to register as a tax resident is in progress."

David (Mar 08, 2021)

Parental Child Abduction

Available in the following locations: Alicante, Arrecife, Barcelona, Benidorm, Castellon, El Campello, Estepona, Fuengirola, Gandia, Girona, Granada, Jaen, L`Eliana, La Manga del Mar Menor, Las Palmas, Los Alcázares, Madrid, Maspalomas, Mazarron, Murcia, Oviedo, Palma de Mallorca, Puerto del Rosario, Puzol, Seville, Valencia, Vera.

* If your local town is not listed, a lawyer from our nearest office will be happy to assist you.


1Who is this Service for?

This is a crime relating to the removal of a child or children by one parent from their current country of residence, to another country, without the approval or consent of the other parent.

In such cases time is very much of the essence and it is critical that the authorities are notified if a child is believed to have been removed from the jurisdiction by one of the parents.

2What does this service consist of?

  • Contact one of our specialised lawyers who in turn will notify the corresponding authorities in the Country where the child is currently located
  • Arrange all required documentation in order to begin legal proceedings as soon as possible
  • Initiation of legal proceedings to obtain a Court Order stating that the child has been abducted and for the child's safe return.
  • Continued representation throughout and contact with the relevant authorities through to successful repatriation of the child.
Support services

3Free Support Services Included

When combined with the free and innovative Advocate Abroad support services you can be sure that you are obtaining completely transparent legal services from registered and regulated English-speaking lawyers abroad.These support services include:

  • Verification of the regulatory status of your professional.
  • Fees as recommended by the Local Professional Body
  • Fees specified in advance and legally guaranteed.
  • Service levels agreed in advance and guaranteed.
  • All professionals must hold professional indemnity insurance.
  • Professionals' proficiency in English monitored.
  • Continuous quality controls and reviews.

Why choose Advocate Abroad? Message
Established more than
10 years ago
Present in 20
European Countries
Over 30,000 client enquiries
successfully managed