New Definition of Parental Alienation Syndrome


What is the Difference Between Parental Alienation (PA) and Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS)?

by Douglas Darnall

In Dr. Richard Gardner’s second edit of parental alienation syndrome, he defined PAS as “a disorder that arises primarily in the context of child-custody disputes. Its primary manifestation is the child’s campaign of denigration against a parent, a campaign that has no justification. It results from the combination of a programming (brainwashing) parent’s indoctrination and the child’s own contributions to the vilification of the targeted parent.” He went on to emphasize the point that if “true parental abuse and / or neglect is present” and the child’s animosity is justified, PAS would not be an appropriate explanation for the children’s feelings.

Gardner describes what the severely alienated child will look like. To better understand PAS and help prevent the damage its causes children and families, I am suggesting that parents and the courts must understand the process that leads to PAS. Therefore I am defining parental alienation (PA), rather than PAS, as any constellation of behaviors, whether conscious or unconscious, that could evoke a disturbance in the relationship between a child and the other parent.


My definition of Parental Alienation is different from Dr. Gardner’s original definition of PAS in 1987: “a disturbance in which children are preoccupied with deprecation and criticism of a parent-denigration that is unjustified and/or exaggerated.” I am placing the emphasis on the brainwashing process while Dr. Gardner’s definition goes a step further to explain that the term is similar in meaning to brainwashing except that he adds the additional component of the child becoming active participant in the denigrating the targeted parent. In effect, the child has been successfully brainwashed.

With either definition, the motivation for the alienating parent has both a conscious as well as “a subconscious or unconscious” component.

The children themselves may have motivations that will make the alienation worse. Their hedonistic outlook for immediate gratification or their desire to avoid discomfort makes them vulnerable allies for siding with the alienating parent. The children become an advocate for the alienating parent by becoming the spokesperson for their parent’s hatred. They become the soldiers while the alienating parent is the general directing the action in the background against the targeted parent. The children are frequently unaware of how they are being used. It is most important to understand that if the child is angry and refuses to visit the targeted parent because of actual abuse or neglect, the child’s behavior is not a manifestation of PAS. This is why the issue of false allegations is so important.

Another difference in what I am outlining in my book (“Divorce Casualties: Protecting Your Children From Parental Alienating“) is my emphasis on the alienating parents rather then on the severity of symptoms. I believe this is important because parents (both mothers and fathers) must be able to honestly look at their behavior, identify the symptoms of alienation (not just the symptoms of PAS), and learn strategies for preventing PA regardless of whether the parent is the alienator or the targeted parent. I believe that alienation is a reciprocal process where both parents get caught up in alienation.

Dr. Gardner’s most controversial solution for dealing with severe alienation was to remove the children from the alienator’s home and place the child with the targeted parent. Later, however, he recanted his recommendation, saying that the children “are likely to run away and do everything possible to return to [the alienating parent’s] home (Gardner, 1992).”  Dr. Gardner then recommended “transitional sites” such as friend or family member’s house, a community shelter, or hospital. Each site would have a different level of supervision and resources to help the children and targeted parent. Hospitalization would be used only as a last resort.

Dr. Gardner’s definition emphasized the point that the child must be an active participant with the alienating parent in degrading the targeted parent.  My definition of Parental Alienation (PA) focuses more on the parent’s behavior and less on the child’s role in degrading the victimized parent, because alienation can occur well before the parent’s hatred for the other parent permeates the child’s beliefs about the victimized parent. This definition is necessary if parents are going to recognize the risk they have for unconsciously falling into a pattern of alienation if they don’t take corrective action. By the time the children have come to agree with the alienating parent’s propaganda, it can too late to prevent the significant damaging effects of the alienation. *(See Note at the end of this article for an important new finding.)
Also, Dr. Gardner’s definition states that the criticism of the other parent must be unjustified and/or exaggerated. I do not believe this is necessary. One parent can alienate the children against the other parent simply by harping on faults that are real and provable. Divorced parents need to understand that their children need to love both parents if at all possible, even if they themselves have years ago ceased to love their ex-spouse or ex-partner. They should help the children to dwell on the other parent’s good points rather than the faults.

It is important to keep in mind that that alienation is not about the horrible parent or “bad guy,” versus the targeted parent or “good guy.” The “bad guy-good guy” roles rotate. The same parent can be both the alienator and the victim, depending on how he or she is behaving. It is not uncommon for a targeted parent to retaliate with alienating behavior against the other parent. At this point, the parents have reversed their roles. This process can occur well before PAS manifest itself. The problem now is that the alienation escalates back and forth, each parent retaliating against the other. What does this do to your children? It is this vicious cycle that must be prevented or stopped.

You can’t assume that the targeted parent is without fault. Targeted parents can become alienators when they retaliate because of their hurt. Now they are in the role of the alienator and the other parent becomes the victim. The roles become blurred because it’s now difficult to know who is the alienator and who is the victim or targeted parent. Often both parents feel victimized. Alienation is a process, not a person.

Understanding parental alienation is paramount for a child’s welfare and a parent’s own peace of mind. Divorced parents, grandparents, judges, mediators, attorneys, and mental health workers all need to understand the dynamics of parental alienation, recognize the symptomatic behavior, and execute tactics for combating the malady.

Published by: ABP World Group International Child Recovery Service

Visit our web site at: www.abpworld.com

Symptoms of Parental Alienation


by Douglas Darnall, Ph.D.

To prevent the devastating effects of Parental Alienation, you must begin by recognizing the symptoms of PA. You will notice that many of the symptoms or behaviors focus on the parent. When the child exhibits hatred and vilifies the targeted parent, then the condition becomes parental alienation syndrome. After reading the list, don’t get discouraged when you notice that some of your own behaviors have been alienating. This is normal in even the best of parents. Instead, let the list help sensitize you to how you are behaving and what you are saying to your children.

1. Giving children choices when they have no choice about visits. Allowing the child to decide for themselves to visit when the court order says there is no choice sets up the child for conflict. The child will usually blame the non-residential parent for not being able to decide to choose whether or not to visit. The parent is now victimized regardless of what happens; not being able to see his children or if he sees them, the children are angry.

2. Telling the child “everything” about the marital relationship or reasons for the divorce is alienating. The parent usually argues that they are “just wanting to be honest” with their children. This practice is destructive and painful for the child. The alienating parent’s motive is for the child to think less of the other parent.

3. Refusing to acknowledge that children have property and may want to transport their possessions between residences.

4. Resisting or refusing to cooperate by not allowing the other parent access to school or medical records and schedules of extracurricular activities.

5. A parent blaming the other parent for financial problems, breaking up the family, changes in lifestyle, or having a girlfriend/boyfriend, etc.

6. Refusing to be flexible with the visitation schedule in order to respond to the child’s needs. The alienating parent may also schedule the children in so many activities that the other parent is never given the time to visit. Of course, when the targeted parent protests, they are described as not caring and selfish.

7. Assuming that if a parent had been physically abusive with the other parent, it follows that the parent will assault the child. This assumption is not always true.

8. Asking the child to choose one parent over another parent causes the child considerable distress. Typically, they do not want to reject a parent, but instead want to avoid the issue. The child, not the parent, should initiate any suggestion for change of residence.

9. Children will become angry with a parent. This is normal, particularly if the parent disciplines or has to say “no”. If for any reason the anger is not allowed to heal, you can suspect parental alienation. Trust your own experience as a parent. Children will forgive and want to be forgiven if given a chance. Be very suspicious when the child calmly says they cannot remember any happy times with you or say anything they like about you.

10. Be suspicious when a parent or stepparent raises the question about changing the child’s name or suggests an adoption.

11. When children cannot give reasons for being angry towards a parent or their reasons are very vague without any details.

12. A parent having secrets, special signals, a private rendezvous, or words with special meanings are very destructive and reinforce an on-going alienation.

13. When a parent uses a child to spy or covertly gather information for the parent’s own use, the child receives a damaging message that demeans the victimized parent.

14. Parents setting up temptations that interfere with the child’s visitation.

15. A parent suggesting or reacting with hurt or sadness to their child having a good time with the other parent will cause the child to withdraw and not communicate. They will frequently feel guilty or conflicted not knowing that it’s “okay” to have fun with their other parent.

16. The parent asking the child about his/her other parent’s personal life causes the child considerable tension and conflict. Children who are not alienated want to be loyal to both parents.

17. When parents physically or psychologically rescue the children when there is no threat to their safety. This practice reinforces in the child’s mind the illusion of threat or danger, thereby reinforcing alienation.

18. Making demands on the other parent that is contrary to court orders.

19. Listening in on the children’s phone conversation they are having with the other parent.

20. One way to cause your own alienation is making a habit of breaking promises to your children. In time, your ex-spouse will get tired of having to make excuses for you.

Published by: ABP World Group International Child Recovery Service

Visit our web site at: www.abpworld.com

Parental Child Abduction – Lesson 2


By: Jake Morphonios

If you suspect that your child is at risk of parental kidnapping, now is the time to prepare. Here is what to do first.

Parental child abduction is the unlawful kidnapping of a child by one parent which deprives the other parent of his or her lawful custodial rights. This kind of child snatching not only victimizes the other parent, but it is also a serious form of child abuse.

When the abducting parent chooses to go underground or flees the state or country, recovery of the child becomes exceptionally difficult – and sometimes impossible. Because of this, if you suspect that your child is at risk of abduction you must act now. There are steps you can take to reduce the risk of abduction, as well as actions designed to make the recovery of your child far more likely.

It takes time, time that you don’t have, to assemble sufficient documentation to provide to authorities following the abduction of your child. To complicate matters, should your child be kidnapped you will most certainly not be in a calm state of mind.  Focusing well enough to collect necessary materials will be difficult.  Therefore, preassemble two sets of the following documents:

On the Children

  • Several recent color photos of each of your children
  • Two sets of your children’s fingerprints
  • A list of your children’s social security numbers
  • Copies of medical insurance cards
  • A list of the child’s scars or other distinguishing physical marks
  • Any passport numbers or drivers license numbers
  • A list of your children’s bank account numbers
  • A copy of any court order regarding child custody
  • All your child’s email addresses or networking sites such as MySpace
  • Your children’s cell phone number(s)

On the Other Parent

  • Several recent color photos of the other parent or potential family abductor
  • A list of the other parent’s scars or other distinguishing physical marks
  • Two sets of the other parent’s fingerprints, if available
  • Any passport or drivers license numbers
  • A list of the other parent’s email addresses or social networking sites such as MySpace
  • The other parent’s telephone number(s) and all known addresses
  • The names and contact information of the other parent’s close friends and family
  • A list of all credit cards, bank accounts or other financial data
  • Car information including, registrations, serial numbers makes, models, descriptions
  • A list of any bank or retirement accounts, negotiable instruments and brokerage accounts
  • A list of any other assets which could quickly be liquidated for cash

The purpose in creating two sets of materials is so that the materials can be kept in two separate “safe” spots. If the abductor takes your set from your home, you will still be able to obtain the other set. Leave this other set somewhere you can access quickly, such as in the home of a local family member or friend. Do not leave the information in a safe deposit box because if the abduction takes place after banking hours you won’t be able to obtain your file.

Should your child be kidnapped, it is vital to quickly locate their whereabouts. Having materials gathered and well-organized will assist both you and the authorities in launching a quick and effective search for your children.

Published by: ABP World Group International Child Recovery Service

Visit our web site at: www.abpworld.com

The Philippines – International Parental Child Abduction


The Philippines is not a party to the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, nor are there any international or bilateral treaties in force between the Philippines and the United States dealing with international parental child abduction. Therefore, there is no treaty remedy by which the left behind parent would be able to pursue recovery of the child/ren should they be abducted to or wrongfully retained in the Philippines.

Published by: ABP World Group International Child Recovery Service

Visit our web site at: www.abpworld.com

If you suspect that your child is at risk of parental kidnapping, now is the time to prepare.


By: Jake Morphonios

Parental child abduction is the unlawful kidnapping of a child by one parent which deprives the other parent of his or her lawful custodial rights. This kind of child snatching not only victimizes the other parent, but it is also a serious form of child abuse.

When the abducting parent chooses to go underground or flees the state or country, recovery of the child becomes exceptionally difficult – and sometimes impossible. Because of this, if you suspect that your child is at risk of abduction you must act now. There are steps you can take to reduce the risk of abduction, as well as actions designed to make the recovery of your child far more likely.

It takes time, time that you don’t have, to assemble sufficient documentation to provide to authorities following the abduction of your child. To complicate matters, should your child be kidnapped you will most certainly not be in a calm state of mind.  Focusing well enough to collect necessary materials will be difficult.  Therefore, preassemble two sets of the following documents:

On the Children

  • Several recent color photos of each of your children
  • Two sets of your children’s fingerprints
  • A list of your children’s social security numbers
  • Copies of medical insurance cards
  • A list of the child’s scars or other distinguishing physical marks
  • Any passport numbers or drivers license numbers
  • A list of your children’s bank account numbers
  • A copy of any court order regarding child custody
  • All your child’s email addresses or networking sites such as MySpace
  • Your children’s cell phone number(s)

On the Other Parent

  • Several recent color photos of the other parent or potential family abductor
  • A list of the other parent’s scars or other distinguishing physical marks
  • Two sets of the other parent’s fingerprints, if available
  • Any passport or drivers license numbers
  • A list of the other parent’s email addresses or social networking sites such as MySpace
  • The other parent’s telephone number(s) and all known addresses
  • The names and contact information of the other parent’s close friends and family
  • A list of all credit cards, bank accounts or other financial data
  • Car information including, registrations, serial numbers makes, models, descriptions
  • A list of any bank or retirement accounts, negotiable instruments and brokerage accounts
  • A list of any other assets which could quickly be liquidated for cash

The purpose in creating two sets of materials is so that the materials can be kept in two separate “safe” spots. If the abductor takes your set from your home, you will still be able to obtain the other set. Leave this other set somewhere you can access quickly, such as in the home of a local family member or friend. Do not leave the information in a safe deposit box because if the abduction takes place after banking hours you won’t be able to obtain your file.

Should your child be kidnapped, it is vital to quickly locate their whereabouts. Having materials gathered and well-organized will assist both you and the authorities in launching a quick and effective search for your children.

Published by: ABP World Group International Child Recovery Service

Visit our web site at: www.abpworld.com

Parental child abduction – help and info


by Kendra Inman

parental child abduction | help and info

When relationships break down, a minority of parents cannot face the prospect of living apart from their child or even of sharing the care of the children with their ex-partner. Occasionally, a parent will decide to take the law into their own hands and bring their children to live with them without the permission of the other parent or the courts – an act called parental child abduction.

It can occur whether or not the parents are separated or divorced and sometimes even regardless of the existence of court orders. Abducting a child – also called kidnapping – is a criminal as well as a civil offence, although the criminal law is hardly ever invoked and it is left to the parent who has lost the child to use the civil courts to get the child back. Even then this will be a steeply uphill task – though prevention is slightly easier than cure.

Anecdotal evidence suggests parental child abduction is increasingly common, says Denise Carter, director of Reunite, a campaigning charity set up to help parents whose children have been abducted or who are involved in international custody disputes.

home alone

Whatever the reason for the snatch, losing a child through abduction is a traumatic experience, says Ms Carter.

Parents react differently, she says. Some are incredibly strong and focused on getting their child back. Others can become severely depressed from their loss and turn their anger and upset inward against themselves.

Reunite can help parents refocus their energies into more positive action.

‘We encourage them to do one proactive thing a day such as dig out photographs or make a call.’

children’s rights

How much a child is affected by abduction varies with each case, the place and country that they’re taken to and how they are now being brought up by the parent who snatched them.

Where and how they’ve been living is often more important than how long they’ve been away from the parent with custody they’ve been snatched from, she explains.

A British child taken to an English-speaking country may be less disturbed by the experience than a child taken to a country where there are significant language and cultural differences. In other words, if the environment feels more familiar to them they will be better able to adjust.

On the downside, factors such as high conflict between the parents and the breaking of other important ties and connections will have a detrimental impact on the child.

against the clock

A parent whose child has been snatched has to face the fact that time is running against them. If their child has recently been abducted the courts are likely to work to restore the ‘status quo’ and send the child back home as quickly as possible.

But the longer the child is away there is a danger that the ‘status quo’ from the child’s point of view will switch to the abducting parent’s home.

‘If a child has been away for a long time, such as two years, the court might need to question whether it is in the best interests of that child to bring them back,’ says Ms Carter. The paramount consideration for the courts here will be the welfare of the child and it will focus on the child’s best interests rather than the war between the parents.

out of reach

‘International child abduction is a growing problem globally, but particularly from the UK,’ she says.

Reasons behind this increase include greater numbers of relationships between partners of different nationalities and easier and cheaper travel facilities.

Statistics taken from the Reunite advice line suggest that child abduction across an international barrier has increased by 87% since 1995. The Child Abduction Unit, part of the Lord Chancellor’s Department which deals with abductions to countries signed up to one of two international agreements, says it deals with over 500 children annually. Recently Reunite has noticed an increase in abductions by British women who marry a foreign national and bring their children home to the UK when the marriage goes wrong.

international agreements – help under the civil law

To date, 69 states, including the UK have either or both the Hague and/or European Conventions including: Argentina, Australia, Austria, Bahamas, Belgium, Belize, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Burkina Faso, Canada (most states), Chile, Colombia, Croatia, Cyprus (southern), Czech Republic, Denmark Ecuador, Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Honduras, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, Republic of Iceland, Israel, Italy, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Macao, Macedonia, Malta, Mauritius, Mexico, Monaco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Panama, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Slovakia, South Africa, Spain, St.Kitts and Nevis, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Turkmenistan, USA, Venezuela, Zimbabwe.

Two international conventions, The Hague Convention and the European Convention, became law here from 1985. The two-fold purposes of each Convention are to secure the immediate return of a child to his or her own country of habitual residence and to ensure that international disputes over access are dealt with by the country of origin.

Both Conventions actively discourage the courts from looking at the merits of the case except in certain very restricted circumstances – they are there to ensure the children are returned home.

Countries that are signatories agree to follow a set protocol. Under the Hague Convention children must be returned to the country of ‘habitual residence’ if they have been wrongfully removed or access and custody rights breached. The European Convention covers most European states, whilst the net of the Hague Convention spreads more widely across the world. To make an application under the Conventions both countries must be signatories. Parents whose children have been abducted from England and Wales to a country that has signed the Hague Convention can apply for help through the Lord Chancellors Department Child Abduction Unit who will help them complete a questionnaire and process the application to the signatory country where the child is now living. The court authorities in Scotland and Northern Ireland provide similar help.

legal hurdles

How long it will take to deal with the application for return will depend on the country concerned, the circumstances of the case and indeed whether the child can be traced. The average length of time is five to six months, but children abducted to New Zealand or Scandinavia for example can be returned within a month.

Tracing a child overseas is fraught with difficulties, says Ms Carter.

‘If a child is abducted and brought to the UK, the parent who seeks to get the child returned home may be able to get legal aid. If a child is abducted and taken to a country where there is no legal aid the parent in pursuit will need to find a ‘pro bono’ lawyer (one that works in a scheme that offers free legal advice) if they can’t afford the legal fees themselves.

‘You may get a fantastic lawyer or you may not. How much help you get varies with the country,’ she says.

The Child Abduction Unit can provide parents with information about legal costs in specific countries.

outside the Conventions

The Conventions are only valid in countries that have signed up to them. If a child is moved to a country which isn’t a signatory, wronged parents have no legal remedy in this country to secure the child’s return. Their only option is to travel to the foreign country to start off proceedings for the child’s return in that jurisdiction. Inevitably this will be very time consuming and expensive and sadly success is far from guaranteed.

Depending on the laws of the country concerned, the courts might well make decisions in favour of abducting parents. Where there are no international agreements, parents need to contact the Foreign and Commonwealth Office for advice on how to proceed. This office can provide a list of local lawyers who correspond in English, approach local authorities for help in tracing the child’s whereabouts and provide informal help locally.

The office is also involved in discussions with non-convention countries to give practical support such as visiting rights to UK parents.

the power of the press

Sometimes using the media to publicise a case can yield results. In one case a child was abducted from the US and brought to the UK. The child was poorly and it was important that he attended hospital.

‘We knew they were in the UK but we had no other leads on the case at all,’ says Ms Carter. The organisation turned to the TV for help and after a couple of broadcasts the child was found.

But each case is unique and in some abduction cases seeking publicity is the worst thing you can do.

‘Sometimes you have to be quiet and lull the errant parent into a false sense of security.’

Parental-Kidnapping

 

worried about abduction?

Reunite runs an advice line and publishes information packs about preventing abduction and how to proceed if the worst has happened.

The charity has this advice for parents who suspect their former partner will attempt to abduct their child.

  • Seek immediate advice from a family lawyer. You may need to get a court order – like a residence order under the Children Act 1989, which determines which parent will primarily look after a child and should also to stop your child being taken out of the country without your prior permission.
  • Write to the UK Passport Service and ask them not to grant your child a passport without your permission (this is only possible where you have got an order from the court in certain circumstances). But the Passport Office has no power to ask for a passport to be surrendered if it has already been issued.
  • Contact the police. If they are convinced there is a real threat they can issue a ‘port alert’ to alert possible points of departure in the UK. How effective a port alert will be depends a lot on how much information you can supply them with – make sure that you have available a recent photo of your child and the other parent which can be circulated and if you have details of which port – airport or sea port for example – your child is likely to travel through, that will help the police focus their efforts.
  • Get a child abduction prevention pack from Reunite

Published by: ABP World Group International Child Recovery Service

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Pakistan International Parental Child Abduction


Contributed by Muhammad Bilal Sarwari http://www.pakistanlaw.net

Under Pakistani family law, which is based on Islamic law, the father controls virtually all aspects of his family’’s life. He decides where his wife and children will live, how the children are to be educated and whether or where they may travel. Courts rarely, if ever, give custody of children to a woman who is not a Muslim, who will not raise the children as Muslims, does not plan to raise them in Pakistan, or has remarried. In all probability, even if the mother wins custody, the children would still need the father’s permission, to leave the country. Any matter of custody in Pakistan can only be resolved through the appropriate local judicial system.

Currently, the only treaties which have any application to abductions of children from the United States are the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction and the extradition treaties which the United States has with individual countries. Pakistan is not a party to the Hague Convention, and there is no bilateral treaty in effect between the U.S. and Pakistan which would cover parental child abduction.

While the courts of Pakistan may take into account the laws of other countries, custody orders from other countries are viewed simply as evidence in a Pakistani proceeding. Possession of a custody order, even in the absence of such an order by the Pakistani spouse, will not automatically result in the return of an abducted child. That parent would have to appeal to the family court in order to try to obtain an order for custody.

Pakistan will recognize decrees of other countries, whether or not there are any formal treaties with them. Abduction by a father is considered abduction by Pakistani authorities (the implication being that it is considered to be an illegal action). However, a foreign-born mother with U.S. custody orders still is not automatically allowed to take possession of her children and depart the country. She would have to retain an attorney and appeal to the High court. The high court acts like a post office in such cases. They send the case to the appropriate district judge for execution. The District Court reviews the papers and then calls in the concerned parties for a hearing. In spite of the illegal action (the abduction), and even though the foreign-born mother has a court order, there is still a great possibility the mother will not be given custody of the child. Moreover, if she is granted custody, the father can appeal to the Supreme Court on a matter of law , which means there was some legal point which was not adhered to during the course of the hearing. If the Supreme Court grants custody (no cases have gone that far yet in this district), there is no further recourse for the father or mother. If the foreign-born mother is granted custody and the father does not comply with the court order, the children can be taken by force. In addition, other civil actions can be taken such as attaching the father s property or arresting him. If a foreign born mother were granted full custody of her child, the father has the right to refuse to allow the mother and child to depart if the court order does not specifically allow her to remove the children from Pakistan.

Although appeal to the courts may seem difficult to a mother seeking custody of her children, it is recommended that parents be urged to appeal to the courts or other legal resources available. If a foreign-born mother has the only court order (U.S. or other) in effect regarding the custody of her child, it is also recommended that in addition to appealing to the courts, she should seek assistance in effecting that order from other local authorities (i.e. from local police or school officials).

Parents seeking legal assistance in Pakistan should be advised that local attorneys in Pakistan do not reseach or investigate cases. Therefore, she must bring as much documentary evidence as she can when she comes to Pakistan. She may be able to hire a local investigator (attorneys also do not use the services of independent investigators) to gain whatever evidence she needs from Pakistan. At this point, it would probably be best for the mother to be present in Pakistan, at least part way through the investigation, to check on the actual progress being made and to try and minimize the possiblity that the investigator will be bribed to alter his findings.

The mother might wish to have a U.S. attorney review all collected evidence for advice on what may be useful and what may not. Once all evidence is collected, a Pakistani attorney should be retained. Constitutionally, courts are bound to resolve such cases within six months. But in reality, such cases could take more than one year if there are appeals. Since Pakistani attorneys do not do investigations, the costs incurred are purely for court-related costs and are therefore likely to be affordable, running as low as 10,000 Pakistani Rupees (U.S. Dollars $400.00) to 50,000 Pakistani Rupees (U.S. Dollars 2,000.00)

There are major family court sections in the civil courts in Rawalpindi, Lahore, Karachi, and Peshawar. In smaller towns, any judge could hear such a case.

In Pakistan, most mothers do not earn an income. The courts keep this is mind in determining what is in the best interests of the child. A father is legally bound to take care of his children no matter what since he is the income earner. A mother is not so bound. That is why, in most cases, the father is granted custody.

Laws protecting the rights of mothers are written into the Quran (Koran). Under Islamic law, a woman has the right to keep a boy child up to the age of seven years and a girl child up to the age of twelve. The Guardian and Wards Act of 1890 can be used to help American citizens in two categories of juvenile cases. It can be used to gain custody of a child for adoption purposes and it can be used to justify granting custody of a child to one parent or the other. According to the Act, a person who is granted custody of a child is given the responsibility to take care of the child and any property or other inheritance that may belong to that child. Since any inheritance is most likely to come through the father, the father would most likely prevail in such a situation.

The Extradition Treaty of 1931 was signed under the British mandate and could be used as a basis of cooperation in child custody cases. The Extradition Act of 1972 was not made with the U.S., but it could be extended in the interest of an American claimant. However, extradition has not been a recourse to which the U.S. Government has resorted in child custody cases.

Published by: ABP World Group International Child Recovery Service

Visit our web site at: www.abpworld.com

How to Win a Hague Convention Child Abduction Case


by Jeremy D. Morley

Here are some tips for attorneys and clients faced with instituting or defending child abduction proceedings under the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, whether in the United States or internationally.
In a nutshell, a Hague Convention application may be made when a child is taken or retained across an international border, away from his or her habitual residence, without the consent of a parent who has rights of custody, if the two countries are parties to the Convention. The child must be promptly returned to the habitual residence unless the return will create a grave risk of harm to the child.

1. ACT FAST

An attorney must be ready to file a Hague Convention application and institute or defend a Hague Convention lawsuit on extremely short notice.
Prompt action may be critical. The Convention specifically requires that hearings be conducted expeditiously. A Hague case can theoretically be instituted more than a year after the abduction but a defense will then arise that the child has become settled in the new environment and, in practice, the longer a child is in a new place the more likely it is that a court will be reluctant to send the child away.
Fast action by the left-behind parent is also necessary to help prevent a claim that the parent has acquiesced in the child’s relocation.
Clients must move quickly to obtain the documents needed to file the initial application and then to collect the documents needed for the hearing. They should normally be asked to prepare a detailed family history and to assist the attorney to develop evidence as rapidly as possible.
In addition to the Hague application and lawsuit itself, counsel for the left-behind parent should take many other steps.
First, counsel should enlist the support of the U.S. State Department’s Office of Children’s Issues. Second, the left-behind parent should institute civil proceedings. If there is no custody order in place from a court in the jurisdiction of the habitual residence, an application should immediately be made for such an order.
Third, counsel should consider putting the abducting parent on immediate written and formal notice of the dire consequences, civil, criminal and financial, that the abduction will cause to that parent personally, and, possibly to others conspiring with the parent. It may be appropriate to provide an extremely short time for the abducting parent to cure the problem by returning the child.
Fourth, the parent should consider requesting the federal and state prosecutors to institute both federal and state criminal proceedings. The federal crime of international parental kidnapping is a felony with a penalty of up to three years in prison. In addition, many states including New York have provisions that also provide criminal penalties for parental child abduction. It will occasionally be possible to seek extradition based on a federal warrant.

2. PREPARE THE FACTUAL PRESENTATION INTENSELY

Hague Convention cases are often extremely fact-intensive. They frequently hinge on the ability of one party to convince the court of matters such as the habitual residence of a child, the extent to which a parent actually exercised custody rights and whether or not a parent consented to or acquiesced in a new residency. For a court to resolve these matters it must analyze the relevant facts.

A successful Hague proceeding requires the attorney, working closely with the client, to marshal as much evidence as possible, in as many forms as possible, to support the client’s position.
Clients are frequently shocked that matters that to them are obvious and indisputable turn out to be disputed and to require them to produce clear and convincing proof. They may well be insulted that their word alone is insufficient to convince the court that they are truthful and that the other parent is lying.
In one case, the parents had moved permanently with their young child from the mother’s native country to the U.S. Two years later, the mother took the child back to her country for a vacation and then refused to return to the States. In supporting her claim that the child was never habitually resident in the States she claimed that the original move to America had been only temporary and that she and the father had agreed that they would return to the mother’s native country after a year or two. The mother had planned the move well in advance and had amassed — and even created — evidence that tended to support her claims. Additionally, she had removed evidence from the parties’ home that would have disproved her claims.

To win the case, we interviewed neighbors, friends, family members, schoolteachers, real estate salespeople, fellow office workers and an array of other people who had had some connection with the family. We checked into any and all areas of the mother’s life for anything that might indicate her intention to stay in the States. We obtained emails, notes, invoices, and other documents. We searched old household bills for evidence of the purchase of items that inferred a degree of permanency. At the hearing, the mother was shocked that her husband had collected so much written evidence to disprove her claims and undercut her credibility. The courts ultimately — and with great reluctance, since they were going against a local national — found in favor of our client.
Since Hague cases are tried quickly, there is usually only one chance to present the case and it needs to be done well at the very outset. An attorney must embark on a quick campaign of collecting mounds of relevant evidence to support the client’s positions, and must expect the other parent to lie, cheat, and distort the facts in a desperate attempt to avoid losing the case.
Just as a current military strategy is to employ overwhelming force to create shock and awe, so too in a Hague Convention case it is often advisable to use overwhelming amounts of evidence to win the case. Such a campaign in a Hague proceeding may yield a capitulation by the other parent even before the hearing actually commences.
Hague Convention hearings sometimes take the form of “he said, she said” disputes in which each side makes verbal accusations against the other. Documentary evidence is usually far better than the mere word of one parent. Thus, if you want to claim that a parent applied for an immigration visa, you must be prepared to do more than simply have the parent tell the court that this was done. You should do whatever you can to get hold of the actual application papers that the parent signed in applying for the visa, which may mean contacting the lawyer who handled the immigration matter originally.
While it is helpful if documents are supported by sworn statements, it is not essential. Both the Convention and the International Child Abduction Remedies Act (“ICARA”) provide that authentication of documents is not required in a Convention proceeding.

3. PREPARE THE LEGAL ARGUMENT INTENSELY

Hague Convention cases raise unusual international law, foreign law and treaty law questions. They involve the courts in matters of a kind that they are usually not used to handling. In many jurisdictions the court may be entirely unfamiliar with Hague cases. Accordingly it is usually essential for the lawyers to help the court to an unusual extent. Certainly a well-reasoned memorandum of law is essential.
The matters in dispute in most Hague cases raise difficult legal issues that must be thoroughly briefed. Thus, the Convention requires the left-behind parent to establish that the child was taken from the “habitual residence” and that the parent had “rights of custody” under the law of that jurisdiction. However, neither of those fundamental terms is defined in the Convention and substantial jurisprudence has grown domestically and internationally setting forth often-contradictory determinations concerning their scope and meaning. Moreover, courts have held that, while they must determine under international law whether the left-behind parent possesses Hague Convention “custody rights,” they must first examine the law of the child’s habitual residence in order to ascertain the extent of the rights that such parent possesses under that law. In this regard, it is often essential to use foreign law experts to establish the existence and scope of such rights.
A Hague Convention attorney may ” and should ” cite cases not only from the domestic jurisdiction but also from other jurisdictions if they support the client’s position. It has become more usual to cite cases from other jurisdictions in this area of the law than perhaps in any other. Courts around the world recognize that it is best to coordinate their decisions with those of other courts internationally and, for that very reason, the Hague Conference on Private International Law has established a database of significant Hague cases from courts around the world.

4. AVOID BEST INTERESTS ANALYSIS

In representing the left-behind parent in a Hague proceeding, it is necessary to keep the court focused on the narrow issues that the Convention requires an applicant to establish and the narrow defenses that a respondent can assert. Whenever the hearing strays into any areas that might be considered as constituting an analysis of the child’s best interests, the applicant should vehemently object.
However, a party opposing a return should do his or her utmost to assert any and all relevant issues under the rubric of one of the defenses specified in the Convention and should be armed with case law to establish that similar claims were permitted in other cases.

5. BE FLEXIBLE CONCERNING EVIDENCE

In Hague cases evidence rules are usually relaxed, so evidence should be submitted in any possible format. Live testimony is invariably the best and normally everything should be done to get the left-behind parent into the courtroom. (An exception is if that parent would be a poor witness and his or her presence would create an opportunity for embarrassing cross-examination). If a witness cannot be brought to the courthouse, consider testimony by video conferencing or otherwise by telephone conference. As a last resort, submit affidavits.

6. USE AN EXPERIENCED ATTORNEY: IF THAT’S NOT YOU, FIND SOMEONE WHO IS

Hague Convention cases happen too fast, and too much is at stake for the client, for an attorney to learn about this area of law at the last minute. It is extremely important to locate counsel with knowledge and experience in Hague proceedings.

Published by: ABP World Group International Child Recovery Service

Visit our web site at: www.abpworld.com

The Hague Convention is not enough to recover your child


Many left-behind parents are told that the Hague Convention will bring about the return of their abducted children. Some authorities say that if your child is abducted, you should follow procedures outlined by the Hague, but we don’t agree.

Until 1980, there was no international system in place to help parents recover abducted children who had been taken to other nations. The Hague Convention attempted to create one, but it doesn’t work. If you take the time to read the well-intentioned text of the Hague, you’ll see its many flaws.

In our opinion, it’s not worth the large amounts of money, time and trouble to hire an attorney to try using the Hague Convention to get your child back. You aren’t likely to get him or her back — and even worse, the abducting parent could be “legitimized” by the courts in another nation.

Under the Hague Convention, a case must be filed in the country where the abductor has taken the child. The courts of that country tend to render their decisions in favor of their countrymen, as the Hague Convention focuses on residency, not citizenship. There is little concern for the fact that the child is a citizen of the country from which he or she was abducted, or for the possible detrimental effect on the child.

 

Even if the child was born in your country, if that child is found to be a “habitual resident” by the courts in another country, the child may be ordered to be returned to that country.

This underscores the need to act quickly.

Few, if any, of the Hague signatory countries are going to send anyone out to physically recover your child for you. Embassy officials will check on the child’s welfare, if it is known where the child is and if the abducting parent lets them.

As soon as abducting parents are aware that that they’ve been located, they’ll usually disappear with the children again.

And about hiring lawyers

You need to be aware that a great amount of money has been spent on lawyers in foreign abduction cases. The unfortunate fact is that they, most often, can’t practice in the foreign courts and are required to hire associate lawyers in the foreign country.

Note: they often have no qualifications or experience working with child abduction cases.

More money…

Educate yourself

Many resources are available to help you learn about parental child abduction. If you’re dealing with an abduction, the better informed you are, the better equipped you’ll be to cope.

Recover your child

Time is of the essence. Parentally abducted children are helpless on their own and confused by the irrational and sometimes abusive acts of non-custodial parents who are supposed to have their best interests in mind. ABP World Group Ltd. has the manpower and the know-how to rigorously cover all avenues, and bring your child home.

Published by: ABP World Group International Child Recovery Service

Visit our web site at: www.abpworld.com

Oppdrag: Hjem til mamma


AV: KARINE ØSTTVEIT  Aftenposten

Det finnes private aktører som henter bortførte barn hjem til Norge. Noen ganger med bruk av våpen.

14 UENDELIG LANGE måneder er gått siden Anne sist så sønnen sin. Denne septemberdagen får hun ham overlevert på en travel flyplass. Den lille toåringen er blek og tynn, men likevel stor i forhold til babyen hun husker. Han har lært å gå, og det som før bare var babling, er blitt til ord på et fremmed språk. Men da moren tar ham i armene, gråter han redd. Hun er blitt en fremmed. I noen øyeblikk blir moren stående, fortvilet. Så forsøker hun det eneste hun kommer på: Holder den lille kroppen tett inntil venstre side av brystet, og håper at lyden av mammas hjerteslag er noe som aldri helt blir glemt.Hvert år blir mellom 35 og 50 barn bortført fra Norge, tilsammen nesten 300 barn de siste åtte årene. Disse barna blir ikke lokket inn i en bil, ingen av dem er blitt plukket opp av en fremmed. De er rett og slett blitt bortført til utlandet av en som står dem nær – nesten alltid en mor eller far. Det er ingen tvil om at slike barnebortføringer er ulovlige. Likevel møter den av foreldrene som står tilbake, ofte en mur av vanskeligheter. I flere tilfeller vil ikke engang det norske politiet ta imot en anmeldelse. Og fra foreldrenes desperasjon har det vokst frem en helt ny bransje: Private, profesjonelle aktører med erfaring fra krig og etterretning som mot betaling henter barna deres hjem igjen – iblant gjennom velregisserte, nærmest militære aksjoner.

Mange oppdrag.

– Bransjen er i ferd med å eksplodere. Jeg fant et barn i København i forrige uke, over helgen må jeg kanskje til Algerie og lete. Det er utrolig travelt for tiden.Martin Waage snakker uten fakter. Han er en av lederne i sikkerhetsselskapet ABP World Group, som blant annet tar oppdrag som går ut på å hente hjem bortførte barn. Opprinnelig jobbet firmaet med livvakttjenester, med etterretning i forbindelse med utpresningssaker og en og annen skygging av en utro ektefelle. Og så, for to år siden, kom den første henvendelsen fra en fortvilt mor. Kort tid senere kom enda en, og så en til. Alle sto med kjennelsen fra en norsk rettssal i hånden, oppgitt over at myndighetene ikke hjalp dem med å hente hjem barn som alle rettsinstanser var enige om var blitt ulovlig bortført til utlandet. Siden den gang har Waage vært involvert i mer enn 15 barnebortføringssaker. Han har vært i land som Brasil, Ukraina, Libya, Iran, Taiwan og Algerie for å hente hjem norske og svenske barn. Operasjonene kan innebære alt fra måneder med spaning, gjennomgåelse av alle slags elektroniske spor, diplomati, forskjellige former for overtalelse – og altså væpnede aksjoner. Prislappen for et barn ligger på mellom noen hundre tusen og opp til over en million.– Vi prøver alltid med diplomati først. Vi vil helst løse det på den måten. Men du kan jo prøve å dra ned til Algerie eller Libya og løse en konflikt med diplomati. Det hender at vi må gå til aksjon. Jeg ønsker ikke å gå så veldig mye inn på det.– Hvorfor ikke?– Når du gjør et sånt overtramp i et fremmed land, er det ikke noe å sitte og skryte av i etterkant. Men i noen tilfeller utfører vi nærmest kirurgiske operasjoner der spesial-operatører går inn og henter ut barnet. Vi bruker folk som tidligere har hatt som jobb å utføre antiterroraksjoner og antikidnappingsaksjoner. Dette er folk som har bakgrunn fra spesialstyrker verden over.– Så i praksis blir det litt som når vi ser SWAT-team på TV?– Ja, det kan du godt si.– Bevæpnet?Martin Waage blir stille i fem sekunder. Ti sekunder. Femten sekunder.– Vi er i utgangspunktet ikke bevæpnet. Det skaper mye ekstra problemer for oss hvis vi blir tatt med våpen.– Men dere utfører vel ikke slike aksjoner ubevæpnet i land der det finnes våpen i hvert hus?– Vi har våpen i unntakstilfellene, i de ekstra vanskelige situasjonene i kompliserte land. Dessverre er disse landene overrepresentert.

Begynte med kjærlighet.

Det er ikke slike statistikker man tenker på når man er forelsket. For Anne (40) begynte historien om en bortført baby som en vanlig kjærlighetshistorie. En hyggelig ferie, en kjekk mann. Vi kan kalle ham Adrian. Hun ble sjarmert av manerene, av komplimentene, av hvordan han fikk henne til å føle seg som den viktigste kvinnen i hele verden. Så Anne dro tilbake, igjen og igjen. Etter et års tid giftet de seg. Adrian ble med tilbake til Vestlandet og Norge.Snart var Anne gravid. Da kom problemene med kulturforskjeller. Hun begynte å snakke om skilsmisse omtrent samtidig med at sønnen Thomas ble født. Men skilsmisse var ikke enkelt. Det var imot Adrians religion, kanskje ville det også gå ut over oppholdstillatelsen hans i Norge. Derfor gikk Anne med på en midlertidig ordning der de skulle bo sammen i noen måneder, alle tre. Hun forklarer at hun, i bytte mot at Adrian signerte separasjonspapirene, gikk med på at han skulle stå oppført i offentlige registre med hovedomsorgen for Thomas.– Jeg skjønte ikke helt hva jeg gikk med på. Jeg tenkte bare at vi jo skulle bo sammen inntil videre, så hvis det gjorde det enklere å få ham til å skrive under på skilsmissepapirene, så kunne jeg godt skrive under på papirene om omsorgen. Men avtalen var at det bare skulle gjelde i en overgangsperiode mens vi bodde sammen alle tre, sier hun i dag.

Prøvde å anmelde.

Men papirene skulle snart få en helt annen betydning. Da Thomas var ti måneder, ville Adrian ta ham med til Balkan for å vise ham frem til familien. Anne var innom tanken på at det kunne bli problemer, men skjøv det fra seg. Adrian hadde jo jobb i Norge, han hadde hus og oppholdstillatelse, og han signaliserte på alle måter at målet hans var å komme seg ut av det krigsherjede området. Hvorfor skulle han da kidnappe sønnen deres? Så hun lot ham dra. Det ble starten på et 14 måneders mareritt.– En kveld ringte han. Han sa at sønnen vår skulle bo der nede. At han ville få det bra der.Anne blir stille, spoler mentalt gjennom minnene. Snart kom Adrian tilbake til Norge, uten sønnen. Thomas ble boende hos Adrians slektninger på Balkan. Anne kontaktet umiddelbart advokat for å få en midlertidig avgjørelse på at sønnen skulle hjem til Norge.– Dagen etter dro jeg på politistasjonen for å anmelde ham. Men de ville ikke snakke med meg.Anne sukker. Mannen bak skranken kalte bortføringen av sønnen hennes «bare en familiesak». Anne gikk gråtende ut igjen. Vel hjemme ringte hun Justisdepartementet, familie, venner. Hun søkte på nettet etter informasjon. Etter noen dager fikk hun bekreftet fra departementet at det eksmannen hadde gjort, var ulovlig. Og at hun tenkte helt riktig; for å sette i gang en prosess trengtes en anmeldelse om barnebortføring på den lokale politistasjonen. Anne tørket tårene og dro tilbake til stasjonen. På nytt ble det bomtur. «Ingenting å anmelde – du vet jo hvor ungen er,» sa mannen bak skranken, en annen denne gang. Da hun kom for tredje gang en uke senere, fikk hun beskjed om å komme tilbake om 14 dager. Det var ingen som hadde kapasitet til å se på saken ennå uansett.– Det gikk mange måneder før jeg fikk anmeldt saken. Det ble stadig mer nedverdigende. Jeg fikk ikke komme forbi skranken engang, jeg sto der og gråt etter barnet mitt mens alle som var inne for å rapportere sykkeltyverier, sto rundt og hørte på.

– En skam.

– Dette rammer de aller fleste som får barna sine bortført. Det er en skam, smeller det fra Kjell Schevig. Han leder nettverket Bortført, der foreldre med bortførte barn får hjelp og støtte i kampen. Ifølge Schevig er det svært mange som ikke lykkes med politianmeldelse av de ulovlige bortføringene. Selv måtte han kjempe i et helt år før bortføringen av datteren Caroline til Tyskland i det hele tatt ble registrert .– Folk flest stoler jo på myndighetene. De gjør som myndighetene sier. De venter, håper og tror at den norske staten skal ordne opp. Ofte tar det flere år før de skjønner at norske myndigheter hverken har vilje eller handlekraft til å få barna deres hjem igjen. Det er forhåpningene som tar knekken på dem. Etter år med skuffelser er de både skakkjørte økonomisk og psykisk utmattet, og har ikke lenger råd til å leie inn profesjonell hjelp som kan hente barna hjem igjen, sier Schevig. Han har denne høsten tatt initiativet til et nytt fond. Bortført-fondet gir økonomisk støtte til foreldre med bortførte barn. Støtten gis for å sette foreldrene som Anne i stand til å leie inn hjelp fra private selskaper som ABP World Group. – Jeg synes det er trist at dette er nødvendig. Disse sakene kunne ha vært løst av myndighetene, mener Schevig.

Ikke imot aksjoner.

Hos Justisdepartementet har ikke statssekretær Astri Aas-Hansen noen direkte innvendinger mot at foreldre leier inn hjelp fra private selskaper for å hente hjem barna sine.– Vi er glad for alle saker som løser seg, og det er opp til den enkelte å avgjøre hvem som skal involveres, sier hun. Aas-Hansen understreker imidlertid at norske myndigheter ikke stiller seg bak ulovlige aksjoner i andre land.– Hvorfor kan ikke norske myndigheter løse saker som dette på egen hånd?– Norske myndigheter bruker de offentlige kanaler som er til rådighet i det internasjonale samfunn for å løse disse sakene. I endel saker kan det ta lang tid, og i noen saker ser vi manglende vilje hos andre lands myndigheter til å etterleve konvensjonen og få til løsninger, innrømmer Aas-Hansen. Hun kan ikke kommentere enkeltsaker, men sier generelt at politiet skal motta anmeldelser i bortføringssaker som i andre saker. Politidirektoratet selv sier at de fokuserer sterkt på barnebortføringssaker, og jobber med problemet i forskjellige kanaler. Direktoratet understreker imidlertid at dette ofte er vanskelige saker for politiet, fordi barnet som regel er sammen med en omsorgssperson.Annes historie er likevel en av dem som endte godt. I sommer lokaliserte ABP World Group sønnen i en liten by på Balkan. Gjennom firmaet leide Anne inn to menn til å overvåke sønnen sin. I fire uker ble Adrian og Thomas konstant overvåket, for å sikre at de ikke flyttet. Imens hadde Martin Waage i ABP møter på ambassaden, hos det lokale politiet og hos Justisdepartementet. I september ga en lokal rett Anne foreldreretten til den lille gutten. Fire dager senere hentet hun ham på flyplassen.

Doper ned barn.

Da hadde han altså glemt moren. Det er en av årsakene til at både Bortført-nettverket og Martin Waage understreker at tiden er en viktig faktor i barnebortføringssaker. De færreste kan leve i årevis med diplomatisk tautrekking. Når et barn allerede har bodd et år eller to i utlandet, er det vanskeligere å få lokale myndigheter til å sende det hjem igjen selv om bortføringen var ulovlig i utgangspunktet – for da vil hjemsendelsen være traumatisk for barnet. For også eldre barn glemmer – eller venner seg til sin nye tilværelse. Martin Waage har flere ganger vært i situasjoner der barnet slett ikke ville være med sine redningsmenn.– Du kan tenke deg en syvåring som er påvirket av faren gjennom to år. Etter så lang tid snakker barnet kanskje mer russisk enn norsk. Et sånt barn blir ikke frivillig med oss.– Hva gjør dere da?– Vi må roe ned barnet.– Roe ned? Medisinsk, mener du?– Det er dessverre nødvendig i en del tilfeller.Det var heldigvis ikke nødvendig i Annes tilfelle. Hun har brukt de siste to månedene til å bli kjent med sønnen sin på nytt. Nylig tilkjente tingretten henne eneansvaret for sønnen. Faren har ikke lenger foreldreansvar, bare rett til samvær seks timer hver tredje helg – under profesjonelt tilsyn. Retten la vekt på at hjemføringen kan beskrives som «dramatisk» og at bortføringen hadde gitt Thomas «alvorlige traumer» som fortsatt preger ham i dag.– Men nå går det mye bedre, mener Anne. – Vi har vært sammen hvert eneste minutt i to måneder. Han er fortsatt skeptisk til nye mennesker, men han er trygg på meg. Og så er han så flink! Stemmen blir et øyeblikk tykk av morsstolthet.– Han har lært seg så mange norske ord at du vil ikke tro det! Alle slags husdyr, middag og nese og armer og ben og mye annet!Anne sukker fornøyd. A-magasinet kan ikke si hvor hun bor, ikke beskrive gaten eller huset. Adrian bor fortsatt i Norge, og Anne er livredd for en gjentagelse av de 14 månedene sønnen var borte fra henne. Hun har flyttet til en ny landsdel, mange mil unna eksmannen. Hun og Thomas lever på hemmelig adresse og med hemmelig telefonnummer. Bare de aller nærmeste vet hvor de oppholder seg.– Jeg slipper ham ikke av syne igjen. Jeg tar ikke sjansen, smiler hun. Til tross for lykken kjenner kroppen hennes fortsatt påkjenningene. Anne er ennå ikke klar for å begynne å jobbe igjen etter sykmeldingene.– Og etter hvert må jeg kanskje ta ulønnet permisjon, for jeg tør ikke sende ham i barnehage ennå. Akkurat nå er ingenting viktigere enn at vi er sammen. Han har traumer som skal bearbeides, jeg har en sorg jeg må bli ferdig med. Og så må vi bli ordentlig kjent igjen.