Case Study A - Child removed to USA by mother returned to UK based father
We acted for a father whose child aged 2 had been wrongfully retained in the USA by the mother. After Hague Convention proceedings the mother was obliged to return the child to England. She chose deliberately to live 250 miles from the previous family home.
The father made excellent notes of conversations between them where the mother had threatened the father that if he insisted that the mother and child had to return to England that she would make life as difficult as possible for him.
The mother made allegations of domestic violence against the father. She also made an application to relocate back to the USA with the child. The court decided that the child be joined as a party to proceedings due to the totally different perspectives of the mother and the father. The court also decided that the mother's allegations of violence should be tested at the same hearing. The mother indicated that her friend in the USA was only a friend whereas the father said that he was in a relationship with her.
We also discovered that the male friend had been successfully sued in the USA in his position as a teacher for inappropriate touching. The mother indicated to the court that she intended to move back to the USA even if the court said that the child should stay in England.
At the final hearing the judge decided that there was no substance to allegations domestic violence. He was also very concerned about the mother's male friend especially as it became apparent in proceedings that the mother was wearing an engagement ring from the male friend.
The judge decided when using the children act checklist that the welfare of the child was best served by residing with the father in England. True to her word the mother returned to the USA to live with her male friend without the child. Therefore the mother's application was relocation was refused and the father was delighted by the outcome.