3. My wife refuses to see me and let me know where our daughter is, what should I do? How can I prevent my spouse from snatching our child?
A number of steps may be considered.
(1) Wardship Proceedings
First, where the circumstances warrant, the child could be made a ward of court as described above.
(2) Deposit of travel documents at solicitor’s office supported with a solicitor’s undertaking not to release them without consent of Court or relevant parties
As aforesaid, wardship proceedings could be very costly and time-consuming, it should therefore not be instituted lightly.
If you are concerned about your child’s ability to travel, either on his or her own travel document or on the strength of the travel documents of your spouse, you can request that the relevant travel documents be deposited at a solicitor’s firm together with the solicitor’s undertaking not to release these travel documents without your consent or the Court’s consent. However, this option is not absolutely secure as it may not prevent your spouse from obtaining a fresh or duplicate travel documents without your knowledge.
(3) Prohibition Order
If the deposit of the relevant travel documents as security is not feasible or not secure enough, you can consider applying for a prohibition order, which can be made within the divorce or separation proceedings. This is an order prohibiting the removal of the child from Hong Kong or out of your custody, care and control.
If either wardship proceedings or prohibition order is involved, your acting solicitor should immediately notify the Immigration Department by serving it with the prohibition order or wardship proceedings. The Immigration Department would then be obliged to notify all ports and airports and to stop or prevent the relevant child from leaving Hong Kong.
(4) Child Abduction and Custody Ordinance
In order to avoid the harmful effects of wrongful removal or retention of children in foreign countries, the Child Abduction and Custody Ordinance (Cap. 512 of the Laws of Hong Kong) has provisions to protect the interests’ of the relevant people. The Department of Justice would also co-operate with the Contracting States of the “Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction” (which have the convention relationship with Hong Kong), and would assist the relevant parties in the return of those children to Hong Kong. For more details, please visit the Department of Justice’s webpage.