If you do not know where your child has moved to, there are several things you can do to locate them.

Some initial steps that you can take include:

  • make enquiries with friends and family as to their whereabouts
  • check with your child's neighbours
  • check on social media for clues
  • contact social services
  • contact the school
  • contact the police
  • seek legal advice.

In all circumstances urgent action should be taken. Delay could be detrimental to the welfare and safety of the child, but any delay could also mean that a child leaves the country without your consent.

How can solicitors help in locating your child?

The court can demand that the whereabouts of a child are disclosed to the court by any person who knows the child's location. This type of order is referred to as an 'Application for an order for disclosure of a child's whereabouts'.

Who can make the application?

The application is not just reserved for biological parents. Anyone can make the application if they have the care and control of a child, either on a permanent or temporary basis. They can also make the application if they have serious concerns for a child that they have a connection with.

What will the court do after an application has been made?

The court can order anyone named in the order to disclose any information the court sees fit in locating a child. If individuals are unlikely to have this information, the court can also seek information from HMRC, the Department of Work and Pensions, schools, doctors, phone companies, etc. to assist with locating the child or the person the child was last known to be with.

What will the court do with the information supplied?

Each case will vary depending on its own facts. The court has a wide discretion as to the directions it can make in such cases depending upon the information provided to it, but you can be rest assured that the court will take urgent action.

What happens if my child has already left England and Wales?

If your child has already left England and Wales without your consent this could amount to child abduction and you should immediately seek urgent legal advice in such cases.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.