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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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Custody

by Nick Porucznik / Posted 05/02/2011 / Updated 15/03/2011

Hi all,
Iīd just like to say hello, first time here, and would like to here from anyone with experience/knowledge of the following.
I separated from my partner about 7-8 years ago, we have a son who is now aged 13. She moved to Australia with her husband about 6 years ago, they now have two more children. My son came to see me for 5 weeks at Christmas, and at the airport, as he was leaving, he asked if he could come and live with me. I have been in contact with his mum, who said, as expected, that it is a definite no-no.
I believe that mediation would be useless, although would be more than willing to engage, but believe that the logical conclusion would probably be settled in court.
I suspect that I wouldnīt stand a chance of winning this, plus the dilemmas that it would expose my son to, so I am scared of continuing on this path. Above all else, I donīt want to hurt him through this process.
I have just got in touch with a lawyer in Australia and am awaiting their reply, but as I said, it would be great to hear from anyone who can help out, whether good news or bad::))
Thank very much,
Nick

Responses

From Rebecca / Posted: 08/02/2011
Hi Nick, it´s good to hear from you and that you are looking at all options for advice/help with your situation. Having lived in Australia myself for a few years and having a son (currently aged 8) who has to go back to Oz to see his dad every year, I hope I can give you some practical advice. I know that the 5 week visit your son had here with you over Christmas would have been during the Australian school summer holidays, so the visit to the UK has not disrupted his schooling and he has been able to enjoy a lengthy holiday with you over the Christmas period. It is nice to know that your ex wife has allowed him to come here, and even better to know that you allowed your son to return to Oz even though he said he wanted to stay here, and you are now trying to go about this the right way. Quite understandably, your ex wife is saying "no" to him living here on a permanent basis, as this would change the dynamics of her family and is likely to also upset his younger siblings. However, your son is at an age where his views of where he wanted to live would be taken into account during the legal process if you were to continue to push for this. Things to consider here (which I do not know from what you have written) is how often have you had contact with your son over the years, what your current family situation is, and whether this has been a first visit back to the UK for your son and he thinks that living here will be like one long holiday. Finding him a placement in a good school over here will be necessary as you would need to prove to the courts that you have looked into his long term education. Are you in a relationship at the moment? Having a partner/wife who is happy for your son to come and live with you for 5 weeks is a lot different to having a child come and live with you permanently. Is this something that has been discussed fully? Does this situation apply to you? You seem to have a good relationship with your son and vice versa, but would him coming to live here on a permanent basis at this moment in time really be the best option for him? Is it possible to maintain that contact with him via phone/skype/facebook etc, have annual visits both ways (finances permitting)and look at him coming to spend a long time here once he has finished his education in Oz? Now he has returned back to Oz and to his usual routine, does he still feel the same about living in the UK on a permanent basis, or is his real wish to be able to spend more time with you? I think a good way forward would be to leave the door open for your son to know that he will always be welcome to come to you and let him make the final choice in his own time. His mum is fully aware what he wants, and if he expresses this enough over the coming months/year or so you may all reach a compromise. The legal route is pretty long winded, not to mention the expense, and to be honest, that money would be better put to use on holidays to and from Australia and spending quality time together, not making a lawyer even richer!
From Nick / Posted: 12/02/2011
Hi Rebecca,
Thank you for your reply, these situations always seem to have a tricky dynamic:).
Iīve been in regular contact with my son since they left, 1-3 times a week on the phone, no webcam, hard enough saying bye at the airport without doing it every week:).
Itīs a funny thing, but I donīt think the issue of him coming over because he thinks it will be one long holiday is true-everyone else tells me it may very well be the case, but neither me nor him seem to feel that way-Iīm a bit of a dictator when it comes to school work:)
I think you might be spot on about talking to him, itīs really difficult from talking to lawyers about who would get custody-most seem to think I donīt stand a chance.
The doorīs always been open, but he never asked because his mum told him I couldnīt afford to have him live with me, which was never true-she manipulated both of us, basically-he didnīt ask because he didnīt want to hurt me, I didnīt ask because I didnīt want to hurt him-excellent work from the ex!:).
Once again, thanks for responding, much appreciated
Yours
Nick
From jane / Posted: 28/02/2011
Your son is of a legal age that he would be able to speak on behalf of himself in court. Im not in anyway affiliated with the law but am trying to get my child back to the uk and have read just about every document reagarding this. I dont see any reason why your son couldnt come and live with you, if he can give reasons why he wants to leave it would help. There is always the chance that he likes the attention of being a single child when hes with you so i think your best bet is to talk to him more and find out whats going on before you take the next step
From Nick / Posted: 15/03/2011
Hi Jane,
Sorry for delay-been looking at different aspects. A mum said it all to me the other day-"thereīs nothing stronger than a motherīs love." I find this prevailing attitude by what seems like most of the world to be the falsest, patronizing, idiotic and unhelpful thing ever-automatically denigrating the rights of my son and I-and 50 % of the world-unbelievable-sorry just woke up:).

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