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

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

Spain is part the European Union. The judgments of the European Court of Justice apply.

The Council Regulation (EC) No 2019/1111 of 29 June 2019 (Brussels II ter) is valid in Spain.

We will explain what that means for your options.

Lawyers and mediators in Spain

We provide a list of lawyers and mediators in Spain 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: Spain

Decision making model


Parental authority in Spain is granted by operation of law to both parents regardless of whether they are married or not. In Spain parental authority is a broader concept that encompasses rights of custody and visitation (a.o. Article 39.2 of the Spanish Constitution and 154 of the Civil Code ).

After a divorce, parents in principle retain joint custody.

Traveling with children: Spain

If you want to travel abroad with your child, you may need permission from the other parent. You can use the permission form from the Spanish Police.



Child relocation: Spain

Substitute permission

If a parent wants to move with the children and the other parent with custody refuses to give permission, the parent who wants to move can request permission from the court. We currently have no information available about what criteria the court uses to make a decision in relocation cases.

Child abduction: Spain

Decision making model

Hague Convention

Spain is a party to the Hague Convention on Child Abduction. The obligations that the convention creates are elaborated in the implementation act: Organic Law on the Legal Protection of Minors (in 1993).

Besides the convention there is also the bilateral agreements with Morocco of May 30th 1997 on judicial assistance, recognition and execution of judicial resolutions in matters of right of custody and right of visit and return of minors.


For more information, you can contact the Central Authority This is a first point of contact if you want your children to be returned.

They will forward your request for the children to be returned to the other parent to seek a volutary return. They will wait 20 days for a response. After that period the return application can be send to the court. You are not obliged to contact the Central Authority first.

Court procedure

In Spain any Family Court can handle a Return Application. 

The procedure at the Family Court takes more then 20 weeks. The procedure with the Court of Appeal will take more then 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 court will decide in each case if the child will be heard by the court. Children from the age of 12 can be heard by the court if the child has sufficient judgement.  

The child interview by the court is not the only way a child’s opinion can be heard. There can also be a report prepared by an independent expert. Besides that the Public Prosecutor’s Office, defender of minors, always acts in all processes that affect minors.


Mediation is possible in Spain through the regular mediation facilities. The Central Authority can provide infotmation about this possibility and the court procedure can be suspended during the mediation.  


When one of the parent appels this does not automatically suspend the return order. Either party can ask that the return order will be stayed while the appeal is pending.


If you think your child is in Italy, but you do not know exactly where, the Italian Central Authority can help you locate your child.

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

  • child’s passports to be deposited with authorities
  • obtain orders to prevent the removal of the child
  • issuing border and/ or port alerts

Legal aid

A parent who does not live in Spain, but who does need a lawyer in Spain for the return application, can ask the Central Authority for a referral for free legal represention. 

Decision making model
For more details: check the country profile of Italy on the website of HCCH.

Criminal law : Spain

Criminal law

Parental child abduction can be a criminal offence in Spain, depending on the circumstances of the case. This can be punished with imprisonment or with a special disqualification for the exercise of the right of parental authority.

Decision making model

Relevant websites : Spain

Traveling with children abroad  :  latest instructions


Consent form for traveling with a child  :    permission form


 Central Authority : Ministry of Justice 







Blogs about Spain


La defensa del menor en los procedimientos de restitución en España

La defensa del menor en los procedimientos de restitución en España

Por Adriana de Ruiter, Tulp Abogados, Madrid, Spain En el ordenamiento jurídico español no se conoce la figura del “tutor ad litem” en los procedimientos de restitución ni en otros procesos familiares, como medidas de responsabilidad parental. Esto no significa que el...

The defense of the child in Spanish return proceedings

The defense of the child in Spanish return proceedings

By Adriana de Ruiter - Spain -  In the Spanish legal system, the guardian ad litem is not used in abduction cases nor in any other family conflicts, as parental responsibility orders. This doesn’t mean the child is not protected nor defended at Court. In all cases in...

Relevant case law in Spain

No posted blogs published yet.

Lawyers and mediators in Spain

Adriana de Ruiter

Adriana de Ruiter

Lawyer and Collaborative lawyer

Madrid, Spain
Tulp Abogados

Lola Lopez-Muelas

Lola Lopez-Muelas