Parental child abduction

The main reasons for calling 116 000 are breaches of parental responsibility, usually called parental child abduction.

This covers a wide range of situations: change of domicile with the child imposed by one parent on the other, failure to respect access rights, international parental child abduction etc. According to Ministry of Justice figures, a huge number of disputes arise. In France in 2011 there were 27,131 cases relating to child custody, to which must be added 128,149 complaints recorded by the Police. These crimes have risen by more than 7% in 5 years (25,131 in 2007). This gives an idea of the frequency of crimes relating to the exercise of parental responsibility in which, we must never forget, the child is the main victim.


If you fear your spouse will go off with your child without leaving an address, here are some things you can do.

They will reduce the chances of him being moved and help matters if the child disappears.

The advice applies to couples who are married, living together, in civil partnerships or already separated, whether of French or dual nationality.

  1. Keep a list of contact details of members of your spouse’s family, especially if they live abroad
  2. Keep identity documents and the child’s passport in a safe place and make sure no other passport has been issued without your knowledge (if the other parent has a different nationality). If you haven’t done so, inform the country’s consulate or embassy that you do not wish such documents to be issued without your agreement.
  3. If you are separated, make sure you always have the other parent’s correct address and telephone number before you hand him over.
  4. Report any threats of child abduction to your local Police Station or Gendarmerie by raising a complaint.

Family mediation

Involving a family mediation organization can help restore confidence and dialogue between parents. In addition a few mediation sessions cost less than a court case.

Imminent danger of international abduction

  • If there is an imminent danger of a move abroad, raise an “interdiction de sortie du territoire” [order banning removal from France]. NB This banning order is valid for 15 days if issued by the Préfecture but only 7 days if issued by a Police station or Gendarmerie. It can not be renewed. This period should allow you to request a summary judgement from the Family Court.
  • If you don’t yet have a decision from the “juge aux affaires familiales (JAF)” [Family Court], request, if need be with the help of a lawyer, that the child’s residence be stipulated as France.
    Request a summary judgement from the Family Court (an emergency procedure that grants you a hearing faster). The judge can ban the child’s removal from France for a longer period.

For further information, contact 116 000