Port Alerts and Family Law

When a relationship breaks down, one parent may decide to take the child abroad without the other parent’s consent, which is known as child abduction. This is a serious issue and a criminal offence under Section 1 of the Child Abduction Act 1984. Child abduction can have long-lasting effects on both the child and the left-behind parent so if you suspect there is a serious risk that your child is likely to be abducted talk to our specialist child abduction solicitors. On this page, we explore the Port Alert which is a really useful tool to prevent child abduction.

If your child has been abducted and you need help and support to ensure the safe return of your child, talk to our specialist child abduction solicitors. If the cost of advice is a concern, Legal Aid may be available.

If you have a question about our services, please use our online form to send us an email.

If you need to speak with someone you will always receive a friendly welcome if you telephone between the hours of 9am-5pm but if we are closed, you can  request a callback. We will call you back as near to your requested time as possible.

What is a Port Alert?

A port alert, also known as a port stop, is a notification system used by the UK Border Force to prevent a child from leaving the country without the consent of both parents. This alert is placed on the child’s passport and is triggered when the child attempts to leave the country through a port or airport. Once the alert is triggered, the Border Force will detain the child and contact the left-behind parent or their legal representative.

How is a Port Alert Issued?

A port alert can be requested by the left-behind parent or a specialist child abduction solicitor. A port alert order can be used if a child is likely to be taken abroad within 48 hours without your permission. This will notify Border Force to alert all points of departure from the UK, such as ports and airports. A port alert order can be issued by the Court or, when the child is under the age of 16, by the police.

This will apply for 28 days, which can then be extended by order of the Court.

What Happens When a Port Alert is Triggered?

When a port alert is triggered, the Border Force will detain the child and contact the left-behind parent or their legal representative. They will also contact the local police and social services to ensure the safety and well-being of the child.

The left-behind parent or their legal representative will then have the opportunity to apply for a Court Order such has a Prohibited Steps Order to prevent the child from leaving the country. The Court will consider the evidence and make a decision based on the best interests of the child.

Why are Port Alerts Important in Family Law Cases?

Port alerts are an essential tool in preventing child abduction in family law cases. They provide a safety net for left-behind parents and help to ensure that children are not taken out of the country without the consent of both parents.

Preventing Child Abduction

The primary purpose of a port alert is to prevent child abduction. By placing an alert on the child’s passport, the Border Force is notified when the child attempts to leave the country. This gives the left-behind parent or their legal representative the opportunity to take legal action and prevent the child from being taken out of the country.

Protecting the Child’s Best Interests

In cases of child abduction, the child’s best interests are often overlooked. Port alerts help to ensure that the child’s well-being and safety are taken into consideration. By detaining the child and contacting the local authorities, the Border Force ensures that the child is not put at risk by being taken out of the country without the consent of both parents.

How Can I Request a Port Alert?

If you are concerned that your child may be at risk of being taken out of the country without your consent, you can request a port alert. The first step is to contact either the police or a child abduction solicitor who can assist you in gathering the necessary evidence and making the request to the Border Force.

Gathering Evidence

To request a port alert, you will need to provide evidence to the Border Force that there is a risk of your child being taken out of the country without your consent. This evidence can include court orders, custody agreements, or any other relevant documentation.

Making the Request

Once you have gathered the necessary evidence, your child abduction solicitor can make the request to the Border Force on your behalf. They will submit the evidence and explain why a port alert is necessary in your case.

Who is Responsible for Issuing Port Alerts?

In family law cases, it is the responsibility of the left-behind parent or their legal representative to request a port alert. This is typically done by a child abduction solicitor who has experience in handling these types of cases.

Port Alert and Legal Advice

Port alerts are an essential tool in preventing child abduction in family law cases. They provide a safety net for left-behind parents and help to ensure that children are not taken out of the country without the consent of both parents. If you are concerned that your child may be at risk of being taken out of the country without your consent, it is important to seek the advice of a child abduction solicitor who can assist you in requesting a port alert and taking the necessary legal action to protect your child. Tyrer Roxburgh can help.

If Your Child is Already Abroad

Port Alerts are a really useful tool to prevent child abduction however if it’s too late and your child has already been abducted, talk to our team of specialist child abduction solicitors who can advise on the legal options available to secure the safe return of your child including The Hague Convention and Interpol.

We pride ourselves on being friendly and approachable so if you need advice from one of our friendly solicitors, please do get in touch by calling 0208 889 3319 or via one of the options below.

The first introductory call is free and enables you to outline your circumstances and for us to explain how we can help. Our team are friendly and approachable and are always happy to answer your questions.

If you have a question about our services, please use our online form to send us an email.

If you need to speak with someone you will always receive a friendly welcome if you telephone between the hours of 9am-5pm but if we are closed, you can  request a callback. We will call you back as near to your requested time as possible.