Child Abduction
Child Abduction

Ten Questions on Parental Child Abduction  
into Spain

Warning: The information set out below is a general guideline provided by DOMENECH ABOGADOS. Specific advice should be sought before any action in reliance on it is taken, as explained more fully in this website's legal notice.

1. My child has been taken to live in Spain without my permission. What shall I do?

Contact DOMENECH ABOGADOS (00 34 93 415 06 77). We will organise that you sign a power of attorney allowing lawyers in Spain to take court action for the return of your child.

2. What other documents are going to be required to support that court action?

Copies of the child’s birth certificate, your marriage certificate (if relevant), divorce order (again, if relevant), any existing court orders relating to your child, and confirmation of the child's enrolment in school or playschool (if s/he's of an age to attend).

3.  What if I know my child is in Spain, but I don’t know where? 

We may have to involve Interpol and/or private detectives. If necessary, we will seek court orders to require banks, schools, telecoms companies, etc. to reveal the location of the abducting parent. 

4. Once you have the power of attorney and other relevant papers and we know the child’s location, what then? 

We will file a return request in the relevant family court closest to where the child is living in Spain.

5. Then what happens? 

The abducting parent will be required by the court to appear before it to confirm whether s/he is willing to return the child. If not, the court will then set a date on which the return petition will be heard (which will include hearing evidence from the abducting parent as well as the parent left behind). 

6. Will my child’s opinion be sought? 

Provided the child is of any age that her views should be taken into account, this is a requirement. The court will order Spanish social services to interview the child (with interpreters if necessary) and – although this would not happen in all countries – the Spanish judge will also want to see and speak to the child. 

7. How long will it take for the court to give its decision? 

Every case is different, but Spain does not adhere to the strict time limits that international law dictates. The bad news is that Spain is generally viewed as one of the worst European countries at enforcing the international rules that govern parental child abduction. However, as from August 2022, new EU rules mean that Spain's courts too should comply with strict time limits when it comes to processing abduction cases.  

8.  What if the Spanish court rules my child should be returned? 

If the child is not then voluntarily handed back to you, DOMENECH ABOGADOS will request that the police are ordered to remove the child from the abducting parent and deliver her to you. Even if the abducting parent appeals the return order, we will seek immediate enforcement of the return of the child from Spain.

9. What if the Spanish court rules that the child should not be returned?

Depending on the reasons, we may advise appeal. If the reason is that the child is considered by the Spanish court to be at grave risk, and the child was abducted from another European country, DOMENECH ABOGADOS will obtain a return order from that country’s courts which will then be directly enforceable in Spain.  

10.  Why are DOMENECH ABOGADOS the right lawyers to handle child abduction issues in Spain?

Our lawyers have over 20 years experience all over Spain representing clients in such cases. Our clients include foreign central authorities, international children’s charities, local authorities, as well – of course – as parents themselves. 

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