Child Abduction

The German Foreign Office and German diplomatic missions abroad receive constant requests for advice and assistance in cases were a husband, wife or partner, generally non-German, has taken a child or children abroad in breach of a sole or joint right of parental responsibility.

In such cases of cross-border child abductions the Foreign Office and diplomatic missions unfortunately have only limited scope to help directly with return of the child to Germany, as custody and residence matters are generally the sole responsibility of the courts and must therefore be resolved and enforced in the jurisdiction where the child is currently resident. Under the principle of the division of powers which today applies in almost all countries, governments are constitutionally prevented from intervening in judicial matters.

This applies even when they are asked for help by the German Government and would like to cooperate in the light of good political relations. In every case the diplomatic missions will, in the interests of the child, advise an amicable settlement with the party holding the child, offer mediation as far as possible and, if necessary, refer the person concerned to reliable lawyers. This costs money. Under certain circumstances, legal aid is available in Germany in cases of international child abduction from the following charitable organisation:

Internationaler Sozialdienst (ISD)
Michael-Hirch-Str. 17-18
10179 Berlin
Tel.: +49 (30) 62980-403
Fax: +49 (30) 62980-450

Weißer Ring
Gemeinnütziger Verein zur Unterstützung von
Kriminalitätsopfern und zur Verhütung von Straftaten e.V.
Postfach 26 13 55
55130 Mainz-Wiesenau
Tel.: 06131 / 83030
Fax: 06131 / 830345.

The prime legal instrument in cases of international child abduction is the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction of October 15, 1980 (Federal Law Gazette, 1990, Part II, pp. 206 ff.), provided the child's new country of residence is, like Germany, party to the Convention.Kuwait is not party to the Convention. Every country party to the Convention has instituted central authorities responsible for taking all appropriate measures to ensure the immediate return of children illegally taken to, or detained in, such country. Further information on how to proceed, in particular with regard to the applicability of the Convention in individual cases and whether there may be a right to legal aid inGermanyshould be obtained from the Central Authorities. Generally the persons concerned should be advised to seek the advice of the following independent organisations:

The relevant Central Authority in Germany is:

Bundesamt für Justiz
- Zentrale Behörde -
Adenauerallee 99 - 103
53113 Bonn
National: 0228 99 410 - 40 or 0228 99 410 - 5212
International: + 49 (228) 99 410 - 5212
National: 0228 99 410 - 5050 oder 0228 99 410 - 5401
International: + 49 (228) 99 410 - 5401

In Germany:

Verband bi-nationaler Familien und Partnerschaften
Ludolfusstr. 2 - 4
60487 Frankfurt/Main
Tel.: 069 / 7137560 o. 7075088
Fax: 069 / 7075092
E-mail: t-online%27%de,verband-binationaler

Internationaler Sozialdienst e.V. (ISD)
Am Stockborn 5 - 7
60439 Frankfurt/Main
Tel.: 069 / 9580702

Deutsches Rotes Kreuz
Beratungsstelle bei Kindesmitnahme/Kindesentzug
Luisenstr. 45
10179 Berlin (Mitte)
Tel.: 030 / 2826731 o. 63
Fax: 030 / 2386704

Child Abduction