Jemma Jones, a Solicitor at Telford-based PCB Solicitors, claims that an ongoing storyline in hit ITV series Emmerdale, where one of the characters has fled oversees with a young boy without the permission of his biological father, demonstrates the importance of parents ensuring they are clear of their legal position and what they can do to prevent such an incident affecting them.
In the programme’s current story arc, Paddy and Rhona, a married couple, reveal their intention to move to New Zealand with their young son Leo, to whom Marlon is actually the biological father. Devastated at the news, Marlon seeks a Court Order to prevent the couple from taking his son out of the country, but Rhona flees with the youngster regardless.
Jemma explained: “It’s become much more common for people to relocate to another country to start a new life, and when the case involves parents who have been separated, it is crucial that all parties are aware of their legal position in relation to their children. The child simply cannot be taken abroad without the written consent of those who have parental responsibility – as we see in the Emmerdale storyline, in instances such as this, the Court has powers to order an immediate return of the child to the UK.
“Where possible, it is of course best for all parties to come to an amicable arrangement, but if agreement cannot be reached, the parent wishing to take the child abroad must obtain permission from the Court, who will take a number of factors into account – such as whether the child will be able to maintain ‘adequate contact’ with the other parent – before deciding what is in the child’s best interests.“
In extreme cases such as the one currently being featured in Emmerdale, where it is suspected a child is going to be taken abroad without prior consent, legal advice should be sought immediately as it may be possible to obtain a Prohibited Steps Order, which would prevent the child from leaving the UK altogether and order the surrender of their passport.”
PCB Solicitors LLP is a modern partnership, with offices in Shrewsbury, Broseley, Church Stretton, Craven Arms, Knighton, Ludlow, Telford, and Worcester. While they have origins back to 1860, the firm is forward-looking and offers a full range of legal advice for both individuals and businesses, including property, family advice and childcare matters, wills, trusts, probate and estate planning, accident and personal injury, litigation, criminal law and corporate and business law.
For further information about PCB Solicitors’ complete range of legal services, please contact the Shrewsbury Head office on 01743 248148 or visit the website www.pcblaw.co.uk.
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