Parental abduction - Child non-representation

Verified 20 July 2022 - Directorate for Legal and Administrative Information (Prime Minister)

Parental abduction or non-representation of children are violations of the rights of parents (access rights, parental authority). This may include a move not reported to the other parent or a refusal to return the child to their usual home. In the event of a custody dispute between the two parents, family mediation may be established.

We're talking aboutparental abduction where a parent has his or her minor child(ren) with him or her while he or she was to be in the custody of the other parent.

Facts are punished even if no judicial decision on custody has been made.

The child concerned must be legally that of the couple: it must have been recognized or adopted by the two parents. For example, a biological father who has not recognized the child cannot invoke a family abduction.

The acts were also punished even if the minor child, whatever his or her age, agreed to leave with the perpetrator.

Parental abduction includes the following:

  • Refusal to return the child to their usual home after a right of access
  • Refusal by the parent with usual custody to leave the child to the parent with visiting rights
  • Refusal to leave the child with the parent who is to house the child in an alternate residence

For these 3 cases, we also talk about offense of non-representation of children.

Parental abduction also includes the following:

  • Removal with the child without the other parent's consent (if the other parent has access) and without providing new contact information
  • Abduction in the strict sense, when a parent takes his or her child with him or her without having the right to do so, while the child is in school, in the custody of the other parent or other adults (e.g. grandparents)


obstructing the other parent's right of access is a offense even if the perpetrating parent has sole parental authority.

If you are concerned about parental abduction or non-representation of children, you can do one of the following:

  • Refer the matter to the Judge for Family Affairs (Jaf)who may alter the rights of the other parent in the best interests of the child if a judicial decision on custody of the children has already been made
  • Ask the prefecture for a opposition to exit from the territory (OST). This procedure prohibits the removal of a child from France without the consent of both parents. It is an emergency procedure in case of fear of imminent abduction. It is valid for 15 days and is not renewable.
  • Ask the Jaf a travel ban (IST). It also prohibits the departure of the child outside France without the agreement of the 2 parents. This prohibition will then be valid until the child reaches the age of majority. It's not an emergency procedure.

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You are in contact with the other parent

He stayed in France

Make sure the child is still under the care of the other parent.

You can request a family mediation. This mediation allows an agreement to be reached between the parents on the custody of the children without going to trial. You have to find a mediator yourself.

Who shall I contact

You can also refer the matter to the Family Court (Jaf). He can offer you family mediation. It can also make a decision on custody or, if a decision has already been made, amend it.

If a decision on custody has already been made, the judge may impose a financial penalty on the parent who does not comply with the decision. He will have to pay a certain amount a day until he returns the child to the other parent.

The competent Jaf is the one in your home.

You can make your request using the cerfa form n°11530:

Application to the family judge (parental authority, right of access, maintenance...)

Who shall I contact

If the conflict continues and the other parent still refuses to bring the child back, you can complain.

He is abroad

Make sure the child is still under the care of the other parent.

You can contact the Office for Union Law, Private International Law and Mutual Assistance under the French Ministry of Justice.

This office is responsible for the implementation of international child movement treaties. He can offer you a international family mediation and thus avoid a trial. Depending on the agreements signed with the country concerned, the office may also allow a foreigner court to be seised to assist in the child's return or in the recognition of international access rights.

If the conflict persists and the other parent still refuses to bring the child back, you can complain, in France, against the other parent. The cooperation of foreign justice depends on international agreements.

You are no longer in contact with the other parent

As soon as you notice the child's disappearance, try to contact relatives. If the child disappeared after school, ask the staff if it was not the other parent who picked him up. If this is the case, the education staff must immediately report the incident to the prosecutor.

As soon as you know that it is a parental kidnapping, contact the police or gendarmerie of your home.

Who shall I contact

You must also complain to be kept informed of the progress of the investigation. You have to prove your rights to the child. You must therefore report that the other parent does not respect your right of access or has not brought it back to the scheduled date.

Provide law enforcement with recent photos of the child involved and the perpetrating parent. Also report if the child is already affected by a opposition or an exit ban.

The perpetrating parent and the child concerned may be entered on the wanted persons file. In the event of a check, the police in France and throughout the Schengen area will be warned of the situation.

A kidnapping alert may also be triggered by the courts. Kidnapping Alert is a system for alerting the public in the event of the abduction of a minor child. The report of the child will be broadcast in all media in France. The alert is not automatically triggered.

If the child is reported abroad, the cooperation of the foreign justice system depends on international agreements.


you can get help from 116,000 Missing Children.

Who shall I contact

Withdrawal of parental authority

The parent, the perpetrator, can see himself to withdraw parental authority.

To do so, the child's behavior must have clearly endangered the safety, health or morals of the child. In cases of religious radicalization, for example.

The withdrawal of parental authority shall be ordered by the court. The court may be seised by:

  • The other parent via a request addressed to the prosecutor who will then transmit to the court (the competent prosecutor is that of the French domicile of the parent who committed the acts)
  • The prosecutor himself, following a report by teachers, for example
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Criminal sanctions

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Non-representation of a child

Fine: €15,000

Prison sentence: 1 year

Child abduction

Tableau - Penalties for the abduction of the child



Prison sentence

Child abducted for up to 5 days


1 year

Child abducted more than 5 days


3 years

Child held abroad


3 years

Move without warning and without giving new contact details for 1 month

Fine: €7,500

Prison sentence: 6 months

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