How can you prepare child relocation from or within Poland? What if your child has been relocated to Poland without your consent?
Poland is part of Europe. The judgments of the European Court of Justice apply. And the Council Regulation (EC) No 2019/1111 of 29 June 2019 (Brussels II ter) is valid in Poland. Poland is a member of the Hague Convention on Child Abduction. Furthermore, Poland is a Schengen country, which means that people can travel freely within those countries.
We will explain what that means for your options.
Agnieszka has many years of experience as a lawyer with child abduction cases in Poland and Belgium.
She is a member of LEPCA (Lawyers in Europe focusing on international Parental Child Abduction).
Agnieszka has volunteered to keep this page about Poland up to date.
Lawyers and mediators in Poland
We provide a list of lawyers and mediators in Poland 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: Poland
Under Polish law, parents have equal parental rights with respect to a child from the moment they are recognized as parents.
After a divorce
In a divorce judgement the judge decides also about parental rights. Usually both parents retain parental rights but if parents cannot cooperate for child’s welfare there is a possibility to limit or even remove parental rights too.
Traveling with children: Poland
When both parents have parental rights over a child a permission for travelling abroad is needed. If one parent does not agree for such travel there is a possibility to replace one parent’s consent with a court decision. Such a ruling concerns a single, specific trip abroad. In practice it happens a parent travels with the child abroad for holidays without any consent of other parent.
Child relocation: Poland
We should distinguish between relocation a child abroad and moving within Poland.
In this first situation both parents’ consent is needed. Lack of one parent’s agreement for a relocation or lack of a substitute court consent enable using Hague convention to bring an abducted child back to Poland.
It cannot be said that a similar situation exists when a child moves from one place to another within Poland. According to Polish law both parents have equal rights over a child but in practice moving with a child without asking another parent has usually no consequences (especially when this parent is a mother).
There is a similar procedure in a domestic situations to a Hague convention procedure but it usually does not work.
First of all: a domestic procedure to order a return of a child has no priority and can last for some time and second – in the same case a judge should decide about parental rights over a child. In such situation a case lasts enough long to make a child becoming used to new life circumstances and at the end of procedure a return order usually would be contrary to the best interest of a child.
Child abduction: Poland
Poland is a Contracting State to the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction and the 1996 Hague Convention on Parental Responsibility and Protection of Children.
The Central Authority in Poland is Ministry of Justice (Ministerstwo Sprawiedliwości). Legal representation in a child abduction case before a court is obligatory. If you do not have an attorney representing you a judge will provide ex-officio attorney for you.
Child abduction cases are heard by the Family Division or the Civil Division in one of 11 district courts. The judgement is usually given within 6 weeks. There is always a possibility to file an appeal before the Court of Appeal in Warsaw within 2 weeks of receipt of the statement of reasons. The court shall state the reasons for its decision of its own motion.
Children are usually heard in child abduction cases – sometimes by a judge, sometimes by a judge in the presence of a psychologist, sometimes by a team of psychologists (OZSS – Opiniodawczy Zespół Specjalistów Sądowych). It is up to a judge if a child would be heard and in which way. There is no age limit for a child to be heard.
Mediation and voluntary return are recommended at every stage of the proceedings, especially at the beginning of the judicial procedure
A judge can issue a return or non-return order. There is nothing more in the return order than an order to return or surrender the child within no more than 14 days of the judgment becoming final.
Execution is the weakest part of a child abduction procedure in Poland. You have to start an execution procedure before a court and organize a day of execution wit a court curator. A curator can ask Police to assist. The left behind parent’s presence is obligatory during an execution of the judgement. The problem is a curator can/should stop procedural steps if it could make any harm in a child’s welfare. In practice when a child cries and does not leave an abducting parent execution stops and you can try another time.
If you are afraid you child could be abducted you can apply before a court for a ban for leaving a country by a child. Regarding free travel with no passport control within EU such decision is difficult to execute.
Information on the whereabouts
The Child Abduction Act 1985 also gives the court a wide range of possible interim orders to be taken against any person who the court has reason to believe may have relevant information, to disclose this information in an attempt to find out the whereabouts of a child (s24A).
Criminal law : Poland
The Child Abduction Act 1985 made child abduction a criminal offence, if a person connected with a child removes or sends that child out of the jurisdiction without the appropriate consent.
Blogs about Poland
COMPOSITION OF THE COURT OF APPEAL Who decides the appeal in a Hague case in Poland? Composition of the Court of Appeal - seemingly straightforward, but not quite... Until 8 March 2020, the Court of Appeal ruled with a panel of 3 judges. After a case had been heard by...
The voice of the child in proceedings in Poland There is no guardian ad litem in Polish legal system. Neither in parental abduction cases nor in family cases. Abducted child’s interest in Hague convention cases is compulsorily represented by the prosecutor. The...
A judge may refuse to order the return of a child if he/she finds that the child objects to being returned and has attained an age and degree of maturity at which it is appropriate to take account of its views (art. 13). How does the court determine that a child...
Relevant case law in Poland
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