What does French law say?

Disappearance of a minor/adult

Any disappearance of a minor is considered a worrying disappearance.


Running away is not a crime

However, anyone helping a minor run away can be prosecuted for abduction of a minor under article 227-8 of the Penal Code. This is considered as breaching parental responsibility.


Parental child abduction

Articles of the Penal code relating to parental child abduction

The expression «parental child abduction» does not appear as such in the Penal Code. It classes these offences in Section 3 under “breaches of parental responsability”. Such offences are dealt with by the criminal courts.

Parental responsability

The exercise of parental responsibiliy where parents are separated - Civil Code Article 373-2
The separation of parents does not affect the rules on the devolution of parental responsibility.
Both mother and father must maintain personal relations with the child and respect his relationship with the other parent.
Any change of residence of one of the parents, if it alters the circumstances of the exercise of parental responsibility, must be communicated in advance with adequate notice to the other parent. In cases of disagreement, the parent most adversely affected informs the Family Court which will make a judgment in the best interests of the child. The judge will decide on the travel costs and adjust the contribution to the child’s maintenance accordingly.

The legal responsibility of parents towards their child while a minor (Article 1384)

Since the father and mother exercise parental authority they are jointly responsible for any damage caused by their children living with them while they are minors. This responsibility applies unless the father and mother can prove that they could not prevent the fact giving rise to this responsibility.