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Access to abducted children Often, obtaining a decision on access to an abducted child is immensely difficult – regardless of whether the child is being retained in Denmark or abroad, and regardless of whether the child has been abducted to or from a convention state or a non-convention state.

Thus, the issues are identical irrespective of the type of child abduction. If e.g. a child is abducted to Denmark, an application for the child’s return must first be submitted to a local central authority and then it is forwarded to the Danish central authority. The application is referred to a local Danish enforcement court, which is then obliged to issue a decision within a six-week time frame. However, the obligation does not carry any sanctions and the processing of many applications exceeds the six-week period.

The alleged abductor may refuse the other parent access to or contact with the child. Several months may pass from the commencement of the procedure until the final decision is issued by the court. And, occasionally, the making of a final decision is delayed because further documentation needs procuring and the child needs interviewing to establish his perspective on the situation.

While the application is pending, it is usually not possible for the parent, from whom the child has been abducted, to contact or see the child. Basically, there is no one national authority who has jurisdiction to decide on the issue of access. Insofar as the child is residing in Denmark illegally, the enforcement court may only decide on the issue of whether the child should be returned in accordance with the provisions of the Hague Convention.

The State Administration does not have the authority to decide on access in as much as the child remains subject to the jurisdiction of the country from which it has been abducted.

However, if you make an application for a decision on access to the country of origin, there is no obligation on the Danish authorities to accept the decision issued by the country of origin. For all practical purposes, access is therefore limited to that which may be agreed between the parents.