Stranded Spouses

Stranded spouse cases are those in which the family travel abroad together, usually with their children, for what is thought to be a holiday, often to visit relatives. Usually one of the spouses is British and the other is a foreign national or originally from the country to where the holiday is taking place.

Once the family have arrived in the foreign country, one of the spouses finds themselves abandoned, with all their travel documents having been removed from them. They then come to the realisation that their spouse has stranded them in the foreign country with no means to return home while they themselves have returned to England with the children. The returning spouse will then claim that the other has abandoned them and the children.

There is usually an overlap between family and immigration laws in these cases and urgent action is needed, especially the children may have been separated from the parent that usually cares for them. In these situations, proceedings would be started at the High Court in London to make the children Wards of the Court which would then mean the High Court would be the children’s guardian and no important steps in relation to the children can then be taken without the consent of the Court.

In these legal proceedings, the Court will make those Orders that it considers necessary for the children’s welfare and in doing so it will consider the stranded parent’s situation and make any Orders it considers necessary to facilitate the parent’s return to England. The situation is more complex if the stranded spouse has been abandoned abroad with the children or there are no children of the family.

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