Brexit 'could mean more distress in cross-border custody cases'

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Separated parents caught up in cross-border disputes about children could suffer more distress if Brexit negotiators fail to persuade European Union ministers to continue legal co-operation, a family law expert says.

Lawyer Rosie Schumm, who is based at law firm Forsters, says families involved in international disputes about child custody could face further difficulties if no deal is reached.

She says legal disputes could drag on and costs rise.

"No deal could be a bad deal for children who are caught up in abduction cases and are suffering as a consequence of one parent having taken them out of the country against the other parent's wishes," she said.

"The latest Brexit paper reveals the inherent difficulties and complications for families involved in such disputes and the potential for longer and costly litigation.

She added: "If no deal is struck, families will have to fall back on international agreements ... and there will indubitably be cases where courts in a European country could order the child to stay where they are and recourse could be limited for the parent applying for the child to be returned."