Source: Fathers 4 Equality blog
A BRITISH mother abducted her six-year-old son and spent three years country-hopping through Asia before settling in Melbourne, where she was finally taken to court and ordered to return home.
According to a Family Court judgment published this month, the mother and father of the boy were in the midst of a custody dispute when the mother said she was taking their son on a two-week trip to the Philippines to visit his sick grandmother. They never returned.
A court order seeking information about the trip went unanswered and, several months later, an English judge found that the child – referred to in court documents as ”B” – had been unlawfully removed.
Believing that his son was in the Philippines, which is not a signatory to the 1986 Convention on International Child Abduction, the father feared that there was little he could do to get the boy back.
The mother and son did not stay in the Philippines but embarked on a three-year journey which included a tour of Hong Kong, Macau and China, followed by a three-month stay in Malaysia.
They returned briefly to the Philippines but left again to spend a year in Dundee, Scotland, before eventually arriving in Melbourne.
The pair moved into a flat in Melbourne’s western suburbs, where they lived for eight months until last April.
Nearly three years after leaving England, the woman finally contacted her former partner, telling him that she and B were in Australia and asking him to sign documents so the child could remain there permanently.
The father refused and went to the International Child Abduction and Contact Unit, which immediately contacted the State Central Authority of Victoria.
The woman was tracked down, her passport seized and she was ordered to appear in the Family Court.
During the ensuing court case, the mother said her former partner had initially consented to B living with her overseas and had known about the year spent in Scotland. She said that she had tried unsuccessfully to contact him via email.
However, the woman conceded ”quietly [and] with a sense of resignation and disappointment” that the removal of the child was against the law and they would have to return home.
The mother and child were due to fly back to the UK on April 19, last year.
by Paul Bibby
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