Friday, 4th February 2011
Toddler to stay with dad after mum claims abduction
The young son of a couple who met on the internet will remain in Malta with his Maltese father after a court dismissed his Norwegian mother’s claim he had been abducted.
Madam Justice Anna Felice ruled the island was the child’s habitual residence after the couple had travelled to Malta intending to establish their residence here.
The child’s parents met over the internet in 2008 and the mother travelled to Malta and remained here until January the following year. On her return to Norway she discovered she was pregnant and the father moved to Norway to be with her.
Following the birth of the child in September 2009, the father found out the mother had another child from a previous marriage. This child had been removed from her care and placed in a foster home, the court heard.
The second child was born suffering from withdrawals from the medication the mother used to take and the Norwegian Social Services intervened. This led to both parents fearing the child would be taken away from them and they decided to leave Norway and come to Malta when the child was only a few days old.
They immediately had the child registered as a Maltese national and established a home together. However, their relationship ended last year and the father was awarded care and custody of the child in January 2010. The mother returned to Norway.
Claiming the father had abducted the child, she submitted a request to the Department for Standards in Social Protection for the child to be returned to Norway.
The father argued that, as he and the mother had come to Malta when their son was only a few days old intending to establish their residence here, this was not a case of child abduction.
The Family Court heard that, in terms of the Hague Convention on child abduction, no court was obliged to order the return of a child if the contesting parent had consented to the child travelling. Nor was the court obliged to order the return if this could expose the child to physical or psychological danger.
Madam Justice Felice noted it resulted from the evidence the couple had intended to establish their residence here and that this country constituted the child’s habitual residence. It also resulted that the mother suffered from mental illness and that her state of health was poor.
The court, therefore, refused the mother’s request to order the return of the child to Norway.
Source: Times Of Malta
Published by: ABP World Group International Child Recovery Services