There have been two decisions this week on cases where a child has been brought to the UK by its mother without the father’s consent and in both cases the court has ordered that the child in question must return to its country of origin.
In the first case Re F the parents had been living in Denmark. The mother was Slovakian and the father, Bosnian. The child was born in 2008 and following his birth the parents signed a declaration to confirm that they both share custody and parental responsibility for him. The mother came to the UK with her son and the father started proceedings to secure his return to Denmark. The mother alleged ill-treatment at the hands of the father and the judge deciding the case noted that the police had been called on a number of occasions and the mother and the child had spent time in a refuge before leaving Denmark. Despite this the judge found that the father had not given his consent for the child to be removed from the county and therefore the mother had acted unlawfully and therefore the child must return.
In the second case, S v S, two English parents had been living together with their child in Bermuda. The child having been born there in 2012. In October last year the mother travelled to the UK telling the father that she would be working and then visiting family. Once in England the mother made it clear that she would not be returning to Bermuda. The judge noted that the mother was suffering from mental health difficulties and she would personally be better off if she were allowed to remain in the UK. But nevertheless ordered that the child must return to Bermuda. in making his decision the court took into account the child’s relationship with his father and that the mother could access support for her difficulties in Bermuda.
Both of these cases demonstrate the seriousness of removing a child from its country of residence without the consent of both parents. In both cases the mothers presented arguments that they personally would be disadvantaged by being forced to return with their children. Whilst acknowledging these arguments both judges felt that this did not outweigh the needs of a child to have a relationship with both parents.
If you have any questions regarding this issue, are planning to relocate abroad or have a child who has been taken abroad without your consent then please contact us for further information