While not often widely publicised, this is by no means a rare occurrence and it can happen to anyone, whatever the circumstance. In 2016, Madonna famously made a legal bid under child abduction laws to force former husband Guy Ritchie to return their teenage son to America after, while travelling through Europe with his mother, Rocco decided to stay with his father in the UK. However, in this instance, the court allowed Rocco, aged 14 at the time, to live with his father.
Whether because of disputes regarding children’s living arrangements, preference to move abroad or immigration issues, there are many reasons for parental abduction and wrongful retention to occur. Parental abduction may not sound as severe as abduction by a stranger at face value, but it can have devastating impact on both the parent left behind and the child. In some cases, the parent may never see their child again. It can also be extremely distressing for the child who, in many cases, does not have a choice in the matter and may be abducted against their own wishes.