Lawyer Liable for $950,000 Judgment in Parental Abduction Case


Source: Lawdiva`s Blog

A lawyer who mistakenly released a child’s passport to the child’s mother, contrary to a court order, has been ordered to pay $950,000 to the father of a child abducted by her client from New Jersey to Spain.

The parents of Victoria Innes, Peter Innes and Marie Carrascosa, were married in Spain in 1999 but resided in the United States. Their daughter, Victoria, was born in 2000. Their marriage ended in 2004. Victoria had both US and Spanish citizenship.

After an acrimonious dispute Victoria’s parents signed an agreement in 2004 that prohibited both parties from international travel with Victoria without the consent of the other parent. The agreement also provided that Victoria’s passport would be held in trust by Ms. Carrascosa’s lawyer.

When Ms. Carrascosa changed lawyers her file was delivered to the new lawyer, however, her new lawyer, Madeline Marzano-Lesnevich, was not aware that Victoria’s passport was to held by her and not released to her client without Mr. Innes’ consent or a court order.

Ms. Carrascosa, a lawyer in Spain, took advantage of the situation, obtained the passport from her lawyer and promptly fled to Spain where she and her daughter stayed with Victoria’s maternal grandmother. Later Ms. Carrascosa returned to New Jersey but refused to return Victoria, alleging the Spanish court had jurisdiction and would not let Victoria leave the country until she was 18-years-old.

In the meantime, Victoria’s father had obtained an American order for custody of Victoria and attempted to enforce it, to no avail. Ms. Carrascosa was charged with contempt of court and interfering with custody and was sentenced to fourteen years in prison, where she has been languishing since 2006, determined not to comply with American justice.

Despite all efforts and the involvement of Spanish/ American judicial mediators at the Hague Court in Holland, Victoria remains in Spain.

Parental abduction is the worst form of child abuse. While the Hackensack court undoubtedly meted out strict punishment, so far it has not motivated Victoria’s mother to relinquish her hold on Victoria.

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U.S Phone Number: (646) 502-7443

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What is Needed Under The Hague Convention on International Child Abduction To Get My Child Back?


Source: Internationalchildcustody.com

The Hague Convention on International Child Abduction sets out standards for what is needed to apply for a return order of a child that is a victim of parental abduction or who has been wrongfully withheld by a non-custodial parent. Those standards are set out in Article 7:

Central Authorities shall co-operate with each other and promote co-operation amongst the competent authorities in their respective States to secure the prompt return of children and to achieve the other objects of this Convention.
In particular, either directly or through any intermediary, they shall take all appropriate measures –
a) to discover the whereabouts of a child who has been wrongfully removed or retained;
b) to prevent further harm to the child or prejudice to interested parties by taking or causing to be taken provisional measures;
c) to secure the voluntary return of the child or to bring about an amicable resolution of the issues;
d) to exchange, where desirable, information relating to the social background of the child;
e) to provide information of a general character as to the law of their State in connection with the application of the Convention;
f) to initiate or facilitate the institution of judicial or administrative proceedings with a view to obtaining the return of the child and, in a proper case, to make arrangements for organising or securing the effective exercise of rights of access;
g) where the circumstances so require, to provide or facilitate the provision of legal aid and advice, including the participation of legal counsel and advisers;
h) to provide such administrative arrangements as may be necessary and appropriate to secure the safe return of the child;
i) to keep each other informed with respect to the operation of this Convention and, as far as possible, to eliminate any obstacles to its application.

In theory each signatory country has a duty to aid in the return of a child who has been wrongfully withheld or is the victim of Parental Abduction. In the United States that duty is coordinated through the State Department who designates local authorities such as the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office to aid in the return of abducted children. In reality, many times the victim parent hires private attorneys such as Pisarra & Grist to aid in the process.

Also read: The Hague Convention – Proved useless

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One key to ABP World Group`s successful recovery and re-unification of your loved one is to use all necessary means available

Contact us here: Mail

Join the Facebook Group: International Parental Child Abduction

NOTE: We are always available 24/7

U.S Phone Number: (646) 502-7443

UK Phone Number: 020 3239 0013 –

Or you can call our 24h Emergency phone number: +47 45504271

International Parental Child Abduction: The Hague convention – Proved Useless


Only 3-5% of children abducted Internationally are returned by the Hague Convention.

All over the world the parents left behind spend all their financial resources and time fighting and hoping for justice. They are also misled by the promises and beliefs that the international conventions will help them recover their children. – The parents spend weeks, months and years – hoping that justice will prevail. Only 3 out of 10 children are ever returned from hague and non hague countries.

The Hague Convention is too full of traps and loopholes to be effective. Even if a parent wins a Hague battle, there are no guarantees that the child will be returned. Many countries protect their own – no matter what.

How to recover your child:

-Find a experienced lawyer, with knowledge about IPCA

-Report the abduction to the Police, and make sure that the police informs Interpol.

-Gain main custody in your home country

-Try to have a “grown up” dialogue with your ex spouse. This can sometimes lead to a peaceful solution.

-If this is not enough –  Send someone to recover your child as soon as possible, as days and weeks easily turn into years.

-After a while you can risk that your child don`t even speak your language anymore.

Read: When the Hague Convention won`t help

And: The Hague Convention is not enough to recover your child

 

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Testimonials from our clients

 

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Abducted Children – We can bring them back


Time is a very important factor if a child is missing. Immediate access to current information about the missing child is critical. Although nobody hopes to be in such a situation where this information is needed, parents have to keep in mind that child abduction can occur anytime, anywhere, to any child. Therefore, parents must have the resources and knowledge about their children ready, so they can take action if their children become missing.

The goal of ABP World Group international child recovery services is to locate, negotiate and recover your missing child. We can dispatch personnel to most locations in the world; we specialize in locating missing children up to ages 18.

Areas of expertise: Parental abduction, Missing children, Kidnappings,
Runaway children and Counselling.

Unfortunately in this day and time parental kidnapping happens and we are here to help you trough this difficult time.
We are aware parental child abduction can be difficult to resolve, but we use professional operatives with the skills and expertise to help find a resolution.

One key to ABP World Group`s successful recovery and re-unification of your loved one is to use all necessary means available

Published by: ABP World Group International Child Recovery Services

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England: Electronic Tagging to Prevent Re-Abduction of Child


Source: internationalfamilylawfirm.com

As a means of preventing international child abduction, the English High Court has issued a consent judgment requiring that a mother be “electronically tagged” before being allowed to visit her child.

The mother had wrongfully removed her child from England to her (unnamed) country of origin on two separate occasions. She had returned the child each time but only after the father had brought Hague Convention proceedings. The child was currently in the care of the father.

The issue before the court was whether the child should spend substantial periods of time with the mother under an interim order, pending a full “best interests” evaluation. The father was fearful that unless safeguards were put in place the mother would remove the child again.

The English legislation that adopted the Hague Convention into domestic law authorizes a court, when an application has been made under the Convention, to give “such interim directions as it thinks fit for the purpose of securing the welfare of the child concerned or of preventing changes in the circumstances relevant to the determination of the application.”

The court approved of an arrangement whereby the mother must be electronically tagged before being able to see the child.

The office of the President of the Family Division of the High Court has devised a procedure whereby electronic tagging can be arranged through the “Tagging Team” of the National Office for the Management of Offenders (NOMS).

Electronic tagging works by monitoring the whereabouts of the person wearing a tag, but only in a specific location. The tag is monitored by a device which needs to be installed in particular premises. That device monitors the tag, and the tagging office is notified if the tagged person is either not in the premises during the relevant times or if the tag is removed.

A tagging order is required to contain the following information:

(i) The full name of the person(s) to be tagged.

(ii) The full address of the place of curfew.

(iii) The date and time at which the tagged person agrees to be at home (and any other relevant places) for the installation of the monitoring device.

(iv) A schedule of the times at which the court expects the person to be at home (or any other relevant places) so that the service can monitor compliance.

(v) The start date of the curfew and, if known, the end date of the curfew, the days on which the curfew operates and the curfew hours each day.

(vi) The name and contact details of the relevant officer to whom the service should report to if there is any breach of the above schedule or if the person appears to have removed the tag.

Published by: ABP World Group International Child Recovery Services

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ITALY – Italian Child Abduction Alert System (ICAAS)


Source: formez.eu

The project aims at realizing a “quick alert” system in the case of child abduction.
 
Actions:

  • Definition of the protocol to ensure that once the case of child abduction has been communicated to the police, the alert mechanism is promptly launched through a study of the procedures already in force in other EU countries, the analysis of the resources available to all Bodies involved and the evaluation of their competences.
  • Definition of a central authority at national level with the clear responsibility for directing and coordinating available techniques and human resources.
  • Management of a joint web portal including two main areas: a public area for memorizing the alarm information and an area limited to the bodies responsible for starting up the procedure on transmission via radio (TV / Radio / mobile telephone companies and others).
  • Coordination between all security forces and the competent authorities, the national network of the Public Administration, civil society and NGOs.
  • Judicial and security system which deals with child disappearance.
  • Definition of the Protocol and Bodies involved in the alert procedures.
  • Memoranda with media and Bodies involved in the communication phase.
  • Realization of the portal.
On 8 March 2011 in Rome the ceremony to undersign the Agreement as regards the establishment of an Italian “Child Abduction Alert” system will take place, which shall allow for the utmost diffusion, among the population, of the information useful for localizing abducted children in the very short term.
The event will open with the welcome address by the Vice Director General for Public Security – Central Head of the Criminal Police, Prefect Francesco Cirillo, and will continue with the presentation of the project by the Head of the Service for Police Force International Cooperation, Gen. B. Guardia di Finanza, Francesco Lisi. The event will be closed with a press conference to be held after the undersigning of the Agreement.
The Project funded by the European Commission, has been the result of a profitable partnership between Police Forces, institutions and private bodies, of which the Central Direction of the Italian Criminal Police has been the leading structure.

Published by: ABP World Group International Child Recovery Services

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Law Firms Sued For Aiding Parental Abduction


Source: Lawdiva`s Blog

Two New Jersey law firms are fighting lawsuits brought by Peter Innes, the father of Victoria Innes who was abducted by her mother Marie Carrascosa and spirited off to Spain in 2005.

Innes and Carrascosa were married in 1999 in Spain but lived in the US. Victoria was born in 2000 and the marriage ended in 2004. Victoria held dual Spanish/American citizenship.

Ms. Carrascosa, a Spanish national and a lawyer in Spain, ignored the parties’ parenting agreement that Victoria remain in the US and brought Victoria to her maternal grandparents in Spain. Ms. Carrascosa later returned to New Jersey. Mr. Innes then obtained a court order from a New Jersey judge who ordered her to return the abducted child to New Jersey. Mr. Innes was also granted custody of Victoria by the US court.

Ms. Carrascosa went into hiding for a time but eventually was tried for contempt of a court order and interfering with custody and sentenced to 14 years in prison.

Yes, you read that right! In British Columbia abducting parents get a mild slap on the wrist. I can only remember a small handful of cases where any incarceration was ordered, which can only speak to the degree of seriousness our courts ascribe to this heinous offence.

Meanwhile, back in Spain, the Spanish court awarded Ms. Carrascosa custody of her daughter and refused to order Victoria’s return to America. Judges from Spain and New Jersey met at the Hague Court in Holland to try to resolve this now high-profile international dispute, but to no avail.

So why have the lawyers been sued? Ms. Carrascosa’s first lawyer was ordered by the court to hold Victoria’s passport to impede her ability to travel with her mother. When Ms. Carrascosa discharged her first lawyer, she couriered the passport to the new lawyer, who apparently had no idea that the passport was not to be given to her client.

Mr. Innes determined that when his wife absconded with their daughter, they left using Victoria’s passport.

The lawyers are, of course, blaming each other for the debacle and a trial is scheduled for 2010.

I can understand why Peter Innes is taking these actions against his wife’s lawyers. If Ms. Carrascosa travelled with her daughter’s passport in hand, someone has to be held accountable. In my experience, the only way Mr. Innes will see his child again is if Ms. Carrascosa finds jail unpleasant enough.

Lawdiva aka Georgialee Lang

Published by: ABP World Group International Child Recovery Services

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Abducted to Poland


THEIR marriage had become marred by arguments, but when his wife wanted to travel overseas after her grandmother died, Dimitrios Laskos did not object.

Neither did he oppose her taking their 11-month-old son Panagiotis to her native Poland for a few weeks. But when she did not return for his first birthday, Mr Laskos became concerned. Two years later, he is still waiting.

This week, a Polish court is to decide whether Panagiotis, an Australian citizen, should be returned to Sydney.

Since he was taken by his mother, Panagiotis has been renamed Piotr and been baptised a Catholic even though the couple had agreed on a Greek-Orthodox baptism. Mr Laskos has only seen him for a few minutes. ”For Greeks always the first son of the family is very important,” he explains.

Imagine the outrage, says Mr Laskos, if a Greek or Lebanese father abducted his child and changed his name and religion. ”Always the fathers are the victims. They give too much power to the woman in this country. Why don’t they make [it] a crime, this situation?”

Under the Hague Convention on child abduction, which Australia and Poland have signed, the removal of a child is wrong if it breaches custody orders or parenting was exercised jointly. But it is no crime in Australia to remove your child where no orders exist.

When the convention was drawn up in 1980, 70 per cent of child abductions were committed by fathers, said Waldemar Drexler, the lawyer for Mr Laskos’s wife, Malgorzata Muchowska.

Now 87 per cent of abducted children are taken by mothers, says the federal Attorney-General’s Department, which helps parents enforce the convention. A spokesman said there was no plan to make child abduction a crime.

In the first 11 months of this year 88 children were abducted from Australia, and 77 were taken from their usual residence to Australia.

Mr Drexler, who thinks the convention is outdated, says: ”The mothers are taking the children overseas to the country where they lived before. We can’t say the child suffers harm because the child is more in touch with the mother who spends much more time with the child.”

The battle over Panagiotis has been nasty with both sides accusing each other of lying to the Polish court. Mr Laskos says his wife made false accusations that he had mistreated her. He says his only criminal record is for driving matters.

Mr Drexler says Mr Laskos has lied in court about owning a property, and has been forced to admit it belonged to his aunt. ”My client says the child’s father does not have any resources to support the child,” he said. ”It’s not fair for her to take a child from a good environment … the family [in Poland] is well-to-do … then to bring him back to Australia where everything is foreign to him, language, culture, father. He won’t recognise anything.”

But a family centre in Catholic Poland concluded after a psychological assessment: ”A solution favourable for the child would be the mother’s return with him to Australia.”

Mr Laskos says he would financially support his wife and child if they returned. Then they could sort out divorce and custody arrangements ”here in Australia where we started our lives together”.

”Slowly, slowly I want him to get to know me. After six to seven years I will take him full time. He does not know English. He does not know Greek,” Mr Laskos says.

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‘A very disturbing trend’: Parents kidnap their children, flee country


Washington (CNN) — More children are being abducted by a parent who then takes them out of the country, and more needs to be done to bring the children back to their legal homes, the U.S. official who oversees the issue said Wednesday.

The number of such abductions reported is “sharply on the rise — a very disturbing trend,” said Susan Jacobs, the special advisor for children’s issues at the State Department.

Jacobs also said her department is one of the fastest growing offices at the State Department because of the increasing rate of international abductions involving children with American parents.

The National Center for Missing and Exploited children said that in 2010 there were nearly 2,000 parental abductions in which the child was taken out of the United States.

“International parental abduction is a federal crime with long-term, damaging consequences for both parents and children, even when the cases are resolved,” Jacobs said. “Parents seeking the return of their children or permission to visit them confront unfamiliar legal, cultural, and linguistic barriers; they suffer emotional trauma, and they face significant and long-term financial costs.”

The United States is encouraging other countries to sign onto The Hague Convention on international child abductions, a treaty signed by more than 60 countries that provides a civil mechanism to return children wrongfully removed from the country where they live.

Jacobs said decisions under the convention are commonly based on where the child usually resides. When properly implemented, “the convention works,” she said.

The issue grabbed headlines a few years ago with the case of Sean Goldman, whose American father, David, was engaged in an international custody battle after the boy’s Brazilian mother refused to let the child return to his father following a vacation in Brazil. The boy was eventually returned to his father after a ruling by the Brazilian supreme court.

Jacobs, incidentally, met with Brazilian authorities last week to discuss ways to speed up the reunification of children with their families. From their discussions, Jacobs said, Brazil and the United States are to hold the first meeting of a children’s working group later this year.

Jacobs and others traveled to the Department of Justice Wednesday afternoon for an observance of National Missing Children’s Day to honor the work of those in law enforcement who recover missing children and combat child exploitation.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has weighed in on the issue as well. In videotaped remarks to mark the day, Clinton asked for to people to continue to speak out on the issue to “help children around the world come home.”

Published by: ABP World Group International Child Recovery Services

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The Hague Convention (On The Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction)


Source: www.sfla.co.uk

Introduction

UK residents making over 40 million visits abroad in one year and over 10 million British nationals living overseas, the continuing increase in international child custody disputes is not surprising. Matters of this nature will always be agonisingly difficult for the parents as well as the children involved.

Before the Children’s Act of 1989, few courts have given importance to children having continuous contact with the parent who was forced to leave home due to marital separation. There are instances where a parent had to go to prison for obstructing contact or resorting to parental abduction. The gravity of the negative effect of circumstances such as these on the children and their relationship with the other parent cannot be underestimated.

The residence order replaces the custody order and offers flexibility in accommodating various shared case arrangements. It ensures that both parents know and feel that they have a continuing role to play in the lives of their children despite the separation. A shared residence order is more advantageous to all concerned, as it does not deprive any parent or the children the right to spend time together.

There is no intention to take away parental responsibility from any parent by granting a residence order in favour of the other. In fact, it can be made in favour of more than one person at the same time in spite of them not living together. It can just specify the periods the child will spend on each household concerned.

The Hague Convention

The Hague Convention is a treaty that was concluded with the firm conviction that the children’s interest is of paramount importance in matters affecting their custody. It aims to protect the children internationally from the harmful effects of wrongful removal and retention in any contracting state, ensure their prompt return to the state of habitual residence and to secure protection for rights of access. The Hague Convention seeks to lessen international abductions by judicial remedies.

The Convention is applicable to any child who is a habitual resident in a contracting state immediately before custody or access rights have been breached. It however, ceases to apply when the child reaches the age of 16 years.

Central Authorities

All contracting states shall designate their own Central Authority, which shall cooperate with each other in achieving the objectives of the Convention. They are to take all appropriate actions towards the main aim of ensuring the safe and speedy return of children wrongfully removed or retained. The Central Authority for England and Wales is the Child Abduction Unit.

The United Kingdom is part of two international conventions concerning the return of a child who has been abducted. One is the above mentioned Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction and the European Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Decisions Concerning Custody of Children and on Restoration of Custody of Children.

Either one or both conventions are in force between the United Kingdom and the countries of: Argentina, Australia, Austria, Bahamas, Belgium, Belize, Bosnia Herzegovina, Burkina Faso Israel; Canada, Chile, Croatia, Cyprus, Denmark, Ecuador, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Honduras, Hungary, Italy, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Mauritius, Mexico, Monaco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Panama, Poland Portugal, Republic of Ireland, Romania, St. Kitts and Nevis, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United States of America and Zimbabwe.

Child Abduction

It is a criminal offense in England and Wales under the Child Abduction Act of 1984 for a parent or guardian of a child, or any person who has a custody/residence order relating to the child to take or send the child out of the United Kingdom without the consent of any other person or persons having rights to the child. There are several possible scenarios in child abduction.

When your child has been taken to a convention country, you should contact the Child Abduction Unit. The questionnaire that shall be sent to you should be accomplished and sent back with photographs of the missing child and the person who has taken the child. Any relevant information explaining the circumstances would be of great help in locating the child. However, the case must fall within the requirements of the convention.

If your child has been taken to a non-convention country, the Foreign and Commonwealth Offices will be able to advise you on what to do. Establish as soon as possible what your parental rights are and the childcare and control practices prevailing in the country concerned. The Consular Division of the Foreign and Commonwealth Offices can provide a list of local lawyers but can neither give legal advice nor act as legal representative.

If you do not know where your child has been taken, it is best to alert the local police station so a Port Alert can be initiated to circulate your child’s name to all UK points of departure. After which, you should also contact the Lord Chancellor’s Department Child Abduction Unit. If your child has been abducted but is still within the United Kingdom, you should know that court orders made in one part of UK is recognised and enforced in all parts.

Being Ready

If you feel that the threat of removal is real and imminent, you must keep the following information ready:

    • the child’s full name, place and date of birth, passport number, date and place of issue and physical description
    • the full name, aliases, place and date of birth, passport details, occupation, departure details and ties to foreign countries of the person who has taken the child
  • the copies of all pertinent documents such as agreements and court orders, child’s birth certificate, photographs of the child and the person who has taken the child.

Always in circumstances like these, one or both parents involved in the dispute actually believe they have more right than the other over the child. But almost always, it is the children who suffer, while the two persons who supposedly care so much for them eventually end up hurting them instead.

Published by: ABP World Group International Child Recovery Services

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