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taking my children from Greece back to England

by lou / Posted 29/09/2010 / Updated 25/10/2013

I divorced my partner in 2009 and have been separated since 2005. I was awarded full custody of my two children and had amicable relations with my ex husband. i originally said back in 2005 that i would go back to England with the kids and he agreed but I eventually changed my mind as didnīt want to take the children aay from their father and greek family. Recently I remarried and had another child ith another greek man, with my ex husbands blessing.
The problem now is that we want to live in England, all 3 children were born in England and have british passports.
Due to circumstances financially etc we want to leave. I asked advice from my lawyer in Greece and he explained the law but advised me that due to the shambles of the Greek judicial system it could go either way if a court case was brought. In the end he said if I am determined to leave, then discuss it with my ex husband and if he is adamant he doesnīt want to let the children go, just to leave anyway!
Please help i am so confused. I have a home in England, so would not be homeless as such. Also as my present husband wants to live there, doesnīt this mean anything as would the courts really want to split my children up??

Responses

From Rebecca / Posted: 12/10/2010
Hi Lou, I hope you havenīt paid your Greek solicitor anything yet, as the advice he has given you is completely against the Hague Convention, and if you did ījust leaveī Greece with the children, your ex husband could successfully obtain a Return Order through the UK courts for his children to be returned to Greece. You really donīt want to go down this route as it is hellish and extremely expensive. You do not say if your ex husband and children still have ongoing and regular contact with their father, but at some stage they must have as you didnīt want to leave Greece in 2005 because you didnīt want to take them away. If they do still have ongoing contact then taking them away may affect them emotionally. The fact that your children were all born in the UK has no consequence in this matter whatsoever, under the HC they are all habitually resident in Greece. How old are your two children and what are their views on the matter of coming to live in the UK? This would also affect things in either a positive or negative way for you. The only way to do this legally is to go through the Greek courts and apply for a Relocation Order to relocate to the UK. Any other option would be to ījust leaveī and risk a Hague Convention hearing, which you probably would lose and either have to accept sending your two oldest children back to their dad in Greece and you remain here with your husband and youngest child, or you all go back to Greece together and set up home again over there. A third option, which is highly unlikely for you, is to leave your two older ones there and start again in the UK with husband and youngest child, or option four - remain in Greece and make the most of your situation and all three children have all three parents. None of this is going to be easy, whatever you choose to do.

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