Travel.State.Gov > International Parental Child Abduction > Country Information > Spain International Parental Child Abduction Information
U.S. Consulate General Barcelona
Paseo Reina Elisenda de Montcada, 23
08034 Barcelona, Spain
Telephone: (34) 93-280-2227
Emergency after-hours telephone: (34) 91-587-2200
Fax: (34) 93-280-6175
U.S. Consular Agency Fuengirola (Málaga)
Avenida Juan Gómez "Juanito", 8
Edificio Lucía 1º-C
29640 Fuengirola (Málaga), Spain
Telephone: (34) 95-247-4891
Fax: (34) 95-246-5189
U.S. Consular Agency Las Palmas
Calle Los Martinez de Escobar 3, Oficina 7
35007 Las Palmas, Gran Canaria, Spain
Telephone: (34) 92-827-1259
Fax: (34) 92-822-5863
Spain and the United States have been treaty partners under the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction (Hague Abduction Convention) since July 1, 1988.
For information concerning travel to Spain, including information about the location of the U.S. Embassy, the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program, entry/exit requirements, safety and security, crime, medical facilities and health information, traffic safety, road conditions and aviation safety, please see country-specific information for Spain.
The U.S. Department of State reports statistics and compliance information for individual countries in the Annual Report on International Child Abduction. The report is located here.
The U.S. Department of State serves as the U.S. Central Authority (USCA) for the Hague Abduction Convention. In this capacity, the Department's Breau of Consular Affairs, Directorate for Overseas Citizens Services, Office of Children's Issues facilitates the submission of applications under the Hague Abduction Convention for the return of, or access to, children located in countries that are U.S. treaty partners, including Spain. Parents are strongly encouraged to contact the Department of State for assistance prior to initiating the Hague process directly with the foreign Central Authority.
United States Department of State
Bureau of Consular Affairs
Office of Children's
SA-17, 9th Floor
Washington, DC 20522-1709
Outside the United States or Canada: 1-202-501-4444
The Spanish Central Authority (SCA) for the Hague Abduction Convention is in the Subdirecci's General de Cooperaci's Internacional in the Ministry of Justice. The Spanish Central Authority has an administrative role in processing Hague Abduction Convention applications. The SCA forwards completed Hague applications to the appropriate State Attorney in the jurisdiction where the defendant resides. The State Attorney brings the case before the court on behalf of the SCA.
The Spanish Central Authority can be reached at:
Subdireccion General de Cooperacion Juridica Internacional
Ministerio de Justicia
c/San Bernardo No. 62
Tel.: +34 (91) 390 4437/+34 (91) 390 4273
Fax: +34 (91) 390 2383
To initiate a Hague case for return of, or access to, a child in Spain, the USCA encourages left-behind parents to review the eligibility criteria and instructions for completing the Hague application form located at the Department of State website and contact the Department of State for assistance prior to initiating the Hague process directly with the SCA. All documents written in English must be translated into Spanish. Please note, however, that certified translations are not necessary. Any competent person or organization may translate the documents. The USCA is available to answer questions about the Hague application process, to forward a completed application to the SCA, and to subsequently monitor its progress through the foreign administrative and legal processes.
There are no fees for filing Hague applications with either the United States or Spanish Central authorities. Attorney fees, if necessary, are the responsibility of the applicant parent. Additional costs may include airplane tickets for court appearances and for the return of the child, if so ordered.
A parent or legal guardian may file an application under the Hague Abduction Convention for return to the United States of a child abducted to, or wrongfully retained in, Spain. The U.S. Department of State can assist parents living in the United States to understand whether the Convention is an available civil remedy and can provide information on the process for submitting a Hague application.
A person may file an application under the Hague Abduction Convention for access to a child living in Spain, however the SCA does not process access cases in the same manner as return cases. The SCA can help an applicant locate the child and offer basic advice on where the he or she must file in Spanish family court to seek an order of access.
The U.S. Department of State can assist parents living in the United States to understand country-specific criteria and provide information on the process for submitting a Hague application.
Retaining a private attorney is not required in order to submit a Hague Convention application for return to a court in Spain. The SCA assigns State Attorneys to present a Hague case before the appropriate court. However, the State Attorney does not represent the left-behind parent who submitted the application; instead, the State Attorney represents Spain and submits the request for return on behalf of the SCA. The State Attorney will have no direct contact with the left-behind parent.
Parents have the option to hire a private attorney in return cases and are required to hire a private attorney in access cases. However, all attorney fees will be the applicant parent's responsibility. The SCA will withdraw from a return case if an applicant hires a private attorney.
The U.S. Embassy in Madrid, Spain, posts a list of attorneys including those who specialize in family law.
This list is provided as a courtesy service only and does not constitute an endorsement of any individual attorney. The Department of State assumes no responsibility or liability for the professional ability or reputation of, or the quality of services provided by, the persons or firms included in this list. Professional credentials and areas of expertise are provided directly by the lawyers.
Mediation may be available for both abduction and access cases. The SCA does not provide mediation services directly; however, the SCA recommends mediation, when possible, through International Social Services . Mediation is voluntary.
While travelling in a foreign country, you are subject to the laws of that country. It is important for parents to understand that, although a left-behind parent in the United States may have custody or visitation rights pursuant to a U.S. custody order, that order may not be valid and enforceable in the country in which the child is located. For this reason, we strongly encourage you to speak to a local attorney if planning to remove a child from a foreign country without the consent of the other parent. Attempts to remove your child to the United States may:
The U.S. government cannot interfere with another country’s court or law enforcement system.
To understand the legal effect of a U.S. order in a foreign country, a parent should consult with a local attorney in the country in which the child is located.
For information about hiring an attorney abroad, see our section on Retaining a Foreign Attorney.
Although we cannot recommend an attorney to you, most U.S. Embassies have lists of attorneys available online. Please visit the local U.S. Embassy or Consulate website for a full listing.
For more information on consular assistance for U.S. citizens arrested abroad, please see our website.
Country officers are available to speak with you Monday - Friday, 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. For assistance with an abduction in progress or any emergency situation that occurs after normal business hours, on weekends, or federal holidays, please call toll free at 1-888-407-4747. See all contact information.
DISCLAIMER: The information in this flyer is provided for general information only, is not intended to be legal advice, and may change without notice. Questions involving interpretation of law should be addressed to an attorney licensed in the relevant jurisdiction.