How can you prepare child relocation from or within Chile? What if your child has been relocated without your consent?

Chile is a member of the Hague Convention on Child Abduction. 

We will explain what that means for your options.

Juan Francisco Zarricueta

Country Reporter:

Juan Francisco Zarricueta


Juan is a very experienced family lawyer in Santiago, Chile.

He has been working on child abduction cases since 2007. 

Juan has volunteered to keep this page about Chile up to date.

Lawyers and mediators in Chile

We provide a list of lawyers and mediators in Chile who can assist you in drafting an international parenting plan, in preventing conflicts over the primary residence of the children, and in negotiating and litigating over the children in the event of relocation or child abduction.


Parental authority: Chile

Decision making model


If the parents live together, they share custody (personal care) over the child (article 224-225 of the Civil Code).

If the parents live seperately, custody (personal care) corresponds to the parent who lives with the child (article 225 of the Civil Code).

Traveling with children: Chile

If you want to travel abroad with your child, you need permission from the other parent, or from a court (article 49 of Law no. 16,618 – Law of Minors).


Decision making model

Child relocation: Chile

Permission to relocate

Bothe parents togehter decide about the residence of the child and about any relocation of the child. However, if one parent is against the relocation the custody parent can request the Family Court an authorization for moving abroad.


The criteria are based on the best interest of the child and the judge will decide in favour if the relocation brings benefit for the child. In most of the cases a visitation regimen is stablished for the parent who remains in Chile.

Preventing relocation

Currently no information available.

Child abduction: Chile

Decision making model

Hague Convention

Chile is a party to the Hague Convention on Child Abduction since 1994.


The Central Authority is a first point of contact if you want your children to return. The Central Authority can initiate the return procedure at the court. But you can also start a court procedure directly at the court through a lawyer of your choice.

If you don’t know the address of your child, the Central Authority can help you to locate your child, using the assistance of several organisations.

The first stage of the court procedure is a conciliation call, where the parties and their lawyers meet with a court official (psychologist or social worker) who intervenes to see the possibilities of reaching an agreement. If there is an agreement, this will be enforce through the court. If there is no agreement, the court procedure continues, usually on the same day.

Court procedure

In Chile child abduction can be delt with by the regular courts that deal with family cases. There is a special procedure at the courts for the return applications, that is abbreviated, to ensure the speed and urgency of the process. The procedure will take 6 to 12 weeks and includes at least one hearing. In Chile the general rule in the Family Court is that all children who are a part of a trial where their interests are involved, are appointed a curator ad litem.

The appeal against the court’s decision will take 3 to 6 months.

A special judge has been appointed, who can have judicial communications with judges from other countries if so desired in any case.

Child participation

The general rule is that children are heard in a return case, but the judge has the power to omit this hearing, for instance because he thinks the child is too young or if the child does not speak Spanish.

The child can be heard in a interview with the judge or thourh the child’s own legal respresentation.

Children can have a child talk with the judge if they are 6 years old or older. If the court finds it necessary in the best interest of the child a special curator will be appointed who will meet with the children and write a report about it to the court.


Mediation is not offered. However there is there is the conciliation call at the beginning of the first hearing as mentioned above.


When there is an appeal the return order of the court is automatically stayed while the appeal is pending.

The Central Authority is responsible of requesting the execution process, only if they have represented the left behind parent in Court. If the request was made by a private lawyer, the Central Authority has no obligation in the execution process.


If you think your child is in Chile, but you do not know exactly where, the Chilean Central Authority can help you locate your child. However, if you have started the restitution request with a private local lawyer, the lawyer can request to the judge help for locating the whereabouts of the child.

If you fear that your child will be abducted from Chile to another country, or otherwise disappear from view, various measures can be taken:

  • child’s passports to be deposited with authorities (this requires a court order)
  • obtain orders to prevent the transfer of the child (this requires a court order)
  • issuing border and/or port alerts.

Legal aid

A parent who does not live in Chile, but who does need a lawyer in Chile, can get free legal assistance of one of the appointed lawyers, through the Central Authority. The abductor parent could get free legal aid only if she/he can prove has not enough incomes for retain a private lawyer.

In other court procedures (not about the Hague Convention), it is also possible to obtain free legal aid, depending on the financial capacity of the parent.

Decision making model

For more details: check the country profile of Chile on the website of HCCH.

Criminal law : Chile

Criminal law

The Chilean Penal Codes criminalizes the abduction of minors under the age of 18. However jurisprudence and doctrine have determined that this crime does not apply between parents.

Decision making model

Relevant websites : Chile

Central Authority

Corporación de Asistencia Judicial (Legal Aid institution depending on the Ministry of Justice):

Permission form to travel with children

There is not a proper form, but you can get one directly from a public notary office.

Implementing act

There is an special procedure for the restitution requests before the Family Courts, stablished in the Acta 205-2015 of the Supreme Court of Chile.

Government website on Child Abduction (Oficina Internacional)

Subsidized legal aid

Lawyers and mediators in Chile

Juan Zarricueta

Juan Zarricueta


Santiago, Chile
Zarricueta Abogados

Daniela Horvitz Lennon

Daniela Horvitz Lennon


Santiago, Chile
Horvitz & Cia