How to respond to a threat of international child abduction

In divorce situations it is not uncommon for one partner to threaten the other partner. At times it is difficult to assess how serious the threats are. You often see that threats are made when someone is feeling scared or fearful. Think about a cat that – when afraid – will start to hiss. But what should you do if your ex-partner is threatening to take your children away from you and (kidnap them) to another country?

It is important to take a step back and consider what is actually going on. Is there a real risk of international child abduction? Sometimes this can be difficult to determine. The International Child Abduction Center (Center IKO) can help you in such situations. You can contact this organisation via telephone 088-800-9000 between 9:30 A.M. and 4:30 P.M. and via e-mail at

In any situation, the Center IKO advises to begin by gathering as much information as possible about the children, the other parent and yourself. On the Center IKO website you will find standard forms especially for this purpose.

If you have concrete evidence that your children are being taken abroad, you should take action immediately. In this case, there are 3 important steps to follow:

  1. Contact one of the Uiteen lawyers. We have ample experience in the area of international child abduction cases.
  2. Contact the Center IKO for advice in the situations described.
  3. Contact the police to inform them of the situation.
Center for International Child Abduction
Janneke Mulder
Family Law Attorney and Divorce Mediator
Uiteen – Law firm for Family Law in Rotterdam