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International Children - Case Study

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We are contacted by a French Father who is separated from his Wife. They last lived with the children in the Caribbean. Father is highly anxious as the children were not made available for his last contact visit and they have not been returned to school. Father believes that Mother, who is an English national, may have returned to England with them, but does not know where. The father has rights of custody in respect of the children and they are both aged under 16.

We advise father to apply to the High Court to make the children wards of court. We have strong working relationships with specialist international children barristers who can advise promptly in these matters. 

This application is made under the inherent jurisdiction of the High Court. Location and disclosure orders are made to enable us to contact third parties who may have information that will enable us to locate Mother and the children. As there is a further flight risk that Mother could, on being located, return to the Caribbean, police assistance is requested and ordered by the court to protect and prevent the children from being removed from the jurisdiction. A port alert system is put in place by the police. 

Mother is located and her and the children’s’ passports are removed. Mother starts to co-operate in the court process and eventually Father agrees that the children may remain in the UK with Mother and we obtain orders that he spends time with the children both in the UK and in France moving forwards. 

We have also dealt with Hague Convention return cases in respect of a mother returning home to the UK without consent from Bermuda and advised I respect of Hague Cases and international children disputes between the UK France where there were French proceedings in place. 

Regarding the enforceability of international children orders, we dealt with a case involving Russian parents, Mother lived in Russia and the Father was living in London with the children and preventing contact. The Russian Order was not enforced in the UK as the process there had failed to consider the wishes and feelings of the children.

Photo by Torsten Dederichs on Unsplash

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