Article | Last updated: 26/08/2013 | Child Abduction
To a Non-Contracting State
In connection with countries that are not a part to the two conventions on child abduction, assistance from the Norwegian authorities is provided through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
There are basically two ways to resolve the matter
- An agreement between the parents:
Out of consideration for the child's well-being you should attempt to reach agreement with the other parent. Read more about this under Agreement between the parents.
- Take legal action in the country to which the child has been abducted:
If you chose to initiate legal proceedings you will need to engage a local attorney. The Norwegian Embassy in the country concerned will be able to help you get in touch with an attorney. A court case in a foreign country will generally take a long time and will often be expensive. Read more about this under Legal assistance.
How can the Ministry of Foreign Affairs/embassy help?
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs can provide practical advice, general information and, if appropriate, put you in contact with the authorities in the country to which the child has been abducted. Furthermore, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will, as far as possible, help bring the facts of the case to light.
Norwegian embassies abroad will provide whatever assistance they can. They can put you in contact with local attorneys, provide advice on local conditions in the country concerned and inform you about available translation services. They can also provide some practical assistance if you visit the country, eg advice on travel and where to stay, and who to contact in the local authorities.
Although the embassy cannot intervene in or seek to influence court cases being conducted in another country, they can, in certain circumstances, be present at court hearings. If the case draws out (substantially longer than is normal in similar cases in that country) the Norwegian foreign service mission will consider whether to make enquiries about progress in the case.
If the child is to be repatriated to Norway the embassy may, in accordance with applicable regulations, assist with the issue of travel documents (eg emergency passport).
Neither the Ministry of Foreign Affairs nor the embassies may participate in activities that contravene the laws and regulations of the country to which the child has been abducted.
In many cases the abducted child will have dual nationality. This means that the child is a citizen of more than one country, eg Norway and the country to which they have been abducted. The authorities of the country to which the child has been abducted will often place the greatest emphasis on the fact that the child is a citizen of that country. Such a situation may make it extremely difficult for the Norwegian authorities to provide assistance, and it may be even more difficult to gain acceptance for your arguments in that country's courts.
From a Non-Contracting State
Cases involving a Non-Contracting State are dealt with under the Norwegian child custody regulations.
Child abduction is a criminal offence under Norwegian law; see Section 216 of the Norwegian General Civil Penal Code. You can read more about this under Child abduction is a criminal offence.
There are basically two ways of solving cases of this kind
- An amicable agreement between the parents
In the best interests of the child, you should attempt to secure an amicable agreement with the other parent. You can read more about this under Agreement between the parents.
- Custody proceedings in Norway
If you choose to initiate custody proceedings in Norway, you will usually require the assistance of a Norwegian lawyer. For information on lawyers who handle such cases, contact the Norwegian Bar Association at http://www.advokatenhjelperdeg.no/ (only in Norwegian) or by phone no: +47 22 03 50 50 and E-mail: [email protected]
When considering the question of parental responsibility, permanent residence and right of access, the courts may decide that the child should be returned to the country from which he / she came. The courts may place emphasis on the fact that the parent who has committed a criminal offence in carrying out an abduction of the child.