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This forum offers parents the opportunity to voice their own experiences of international parental child abduction, and related issues, and to share useful information with others in a similar situation.

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I took the children - now what?

by Lisa / Posted 15/03/2010 / Updated 14/08/2016

A year ago my Greek husband and I moved to Greece - just before the birth of our second child. The birth was traumatic and I developed post natal depression. In September, I realised that I was really ill and would get no understanding or treatment in Greece so I brought the children back to England. I only intended to stay a few weeks to get treatment but my relationship with my husband collapsed and I have stayed. He now wants to take the children back to Greece for a holiday. I am afraid to let them go but if I start court proceedings, will they say that I abducted the children? Any advice please?


From Nick Johnston / Posted: 25/03/2010
You should seek some advice from Reunite and possibly a suitable lawyer. Whilst you may believe you have done wrong there is every possibility that you can ensure that the children remain in this country with you. If things are done correctly your husband would have to make applications through the courts to have the children but at the moment do not let them go to Greece as there is a high probability that you will not get them back again.
From JA / Posted: 26/03/2010
Best to check with Reunite, but if you refer to the US State Department´s most recent report (2009? I think) on child abduction, Greece doesn´t have a particularly good record at returning children.

How long were you in Greece for? It sounds like you were there for less than a year? Were you in your home country for significantly longer than the time spent in Greece? Is your home country where your first child was born?
From Rebecca / Posted: 30/03/2010
Hi Lisa,
Having read your brief circumstances you appear to be in a ´damned if you do -damned if you don´t´ situation I´m sorry to say. With Greece being a HC country then the convention may be on the side of your husband and a return order may be granted by the High Court eventually if your husband started proceedings as Greece may be deemed to be their country of habitual residence. Likewise, if you allow him to take the children to Greece for a holiday and he doesn´t let them come back again, then there is nothing you can do to get them back here. If you allow them to go ´on holiday´ then effectively you will be allowing your husband to ´take them home´ without him having to go through a lengthy HC procedure. Is there any chance with some mediation your husband would move back to the UK and live here again so that he could see the children regularly? Sorry I can´t give you any positive advice, but this HC really is a ruthless piece of legislation and it is extremely hard to fight it.
From Phil / Posted: 06/04/2010
Hi Lisa.
Like most on this site I too have experienced such asituatuaion as you and your husband.
It is a very difficult thing to deal with .
However your husband is completely entitled to be fully involved with his children.
My advise would be to keep things between you amicable and always look at obtaining a compromise which is acceptable to both you and your husband.
If you refuse to do this he has every right to accuse you of abduction.
Sorry I am unable to give any further advise.
From ac / Posted: 21/04/2010
Hi Lisa
I sympathise with your situation but it sickens me to read this site when people immediately talk of lawyers and courts and the HC.

Children are not possessions that were bought in a shop. To be fought over like a house or car or some other material thing. They have TWO parents, both of whom have a god given right to have their child in their lives (except where the child is at risk of course).

The fact remains that you had your kids with your ex and you took them away. My apology if this sounds harsh. Put yourself in his position ... how would you feel if you were the one without your children?

Can I suggest you accompany the children so that they can visit their father and then you work things out with him so that both parents feel satisfied they can see their children, experience the joy parenthood brings and the children are not in no-man-land between two feuding parents?

It is not right or fair to remove a child from either parent. Lost time with a child can NEVER be recovered and that breads anger and resent and perhaps ultimately bitterness.
From NoFaith / Posted: 29/04/2010
Hi Lisa,

If he loves his children with a bit of mediation he will come to UK to live and he will probably get half custody.

I am bit supriced that you didnt get the understanding in Greece though. I suppose you didnt realize that you were ill but your relationship was broken down, so the exodus.

Anyway i left the place 20 years ago, not sure why people go back there to live.(is it the sundream?)

My understanding is though that the Greek courts will probably give custody to you and probably leave to return in UK if you have a good plan for the kids( and of course a job).

Lisa think careful and put your kids first not your ego.

By the way, after 3 years, i still fight for my daughter´s return back to UK and i will never give up to ill european systems. My life is great, it is the human rights my child´s life that have been abused by a very similar story.

Ask your husband to come in UK to talk, go to mediation. But i suppose now is too late because he already knows that he can go via the HC

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