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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 left my children behind

by Dawn / Posted 16/02/2012 / Updated 28/11/2012

I moved to Australia 10 yrs ago as a family. I never really settled my marriage detoriated and eventually ended in 2006. I remained unhappy and often thought
of returning to the UK. I cameto UK on holiday a few times and decided to stay. I had been subjeted to domestic abuse which continued after divorce in the form of bullying, control, denegration by both my ex and his mother who live in OZ. I had lots of evidence of the abuse that me and the children had endured. However under the Hague Convention my children had to be returned to OZ to their father and I was told I needed to apply for a relocation order in OZ to fetch them back to UK. I returned to OZ with the children sought legal representation and basically I sold my house (which gave me a small amount of money) I could not afford to apply for relocation as I was told it was going to cost $40,000 and I may not get the order.
My ex continued to abuse and bully me.The police wouldnt help as he had not physically harmed me.
He and his mother spent lots of money on the children winning the childrens favour and emotions. I was jobless, spent the small amount I had on legal bills as when I returned my ex husband made an application to te court to have more time with the children. He already had 50/50 shared care and wanted more.
So desperately unhappy, a victim of domestice abuse, jobless and having sold my house and the funds eaten up in legal fees and high living costs of Australia. I have now left my children in Australia with their father.
It was a heartbreaking decision but the shared care situation did not work due to the nature of the highly conflictual relationship between their father and me the children were suffering.
I know there are probably people out there who wil judge and criticise a mother for leaving her children but I think youhave to walk in some one elses shoes before you judge.
I am an educated professional and did not make the decision lightly.
Since I left my ex mother in law posted some disgusting comments about me on social networking sites hoping my children disown me.

My children are 11 and 13.

Moving to OZ turned out to be a nightmare not a change for a better life it was hard from the beginning moving a new country with young children and it didnt really become any easier in our situaiton. I moved to OZ as a family and when my family unit broke down I am unable to make the choice to move back to the UK with my chidlren. Even though they are British they have to remain in Australia with their British father. I would ask anyone considering moving to another country to consider the ramifications of possible marital breakdown once in another country and the role of the Hague Convention which only supported the abuser not the victims, telling me tat te authorities in Australia were set up to protect and help me. The austhorities in Australia did not and could not help and protect me.


From Decimated / Posted: 17/09/2012
I dont judge you. I feel incredibly sorry for you. It is a terrible decision to have to make. I was extremely fortunate that I defended myself against child abduction allegations. If I had had to go back it would have been a choice between my children or my mental health. Not a humane decision to have to make.
From Belinda / Posted: 27/09/2012
I really feel for you. I am extremely disappointed with the authorities in both the Uk and Australia, I feel they let anyone bring a Hague Convention application and they force people to spend thousands of dollars fighting ridiculous court battles.
we are Australians and were living in the Uk, we moved back to Australia as a family, our marriage broke down when my husband had an affair, he then went back to the Uk and brought a Hague convention order for return of the children saying that our move to Australia was only ever a holiday! All of our family are here and we had plabnned this move since we were married. I have now spent over $50,000 defending myself, where he has spent nothing up until now. The courts dont even look at my side of the story before forcing me to spend thousands on legal fee´s which I think is absolutely ridiculous.
The only thing we can do is take each day at a time and remain the better person because in years to come the children will learn the truth and will be able to make their own decisions.
From Rebecca / Posted: 07/10/2012
Hi Dawn,
Your story is very similar to mine and I have wrote mine in the hope of getting some examples of situations like ours published into a book. I would love for this situation to be highlighted as a warning to people and something they should seriously consider before emigrating. Just when I was ready to consider leaving my son there and return home to England because I was homeless and with no money I was very fortunate in my situation that some charities and a local church funded my housing and food etc for the two years it took me to go through the Family Court in Australia. I also managed to get legal aid and a very good solicitor who represented me pro bono when the legal aid money ran out (that was after Id spent around 30,000 of my own money on the court case and had no more left to spend). I was eventually granted Leave To Remove and return to England with my son. Seven years on and I have now become friends with my ex (it took a long time getting there) and my son now regularly visits between the two countries and has recently obtained dual nationality with my blessing. He is 10 now and is happy to go to Australia to visit his father and happy to come back to me.

I really think the HC needs some serious amendments though and needs to consider DV. I have been following the current case of the Italian girls who have been forcibly removed from Australia this week from their mother back to their father in Italy. They were literally dragged away from her by the police and two of them had to be taken off the plane in Brisbane because they were kicking and screaming about being removed back to Italy. It is heartbreaking to watch on the news and quite disgusting that these girls are being forced back to a parent they clearly do not want to be with.

I hope you managed to remain in contact with your children and that your ex will allow free communication both ways. I can understand why you have come back alone as I know from my own experience how hard it is.
From cheryl thomson / Posted: 23/10/2012
have just read your story and its all most word for word identical to what happend to my daughter in feb daughter returned to uk with her two babies age 19 months and 7 months . they were staying with me .it was only about ten days when late one night the police came the night mare started. My daughter was seved with papers pass ports taken told the children and her could not leave the premises and that she would be summons to court very quickly under child abduction hague convention.we did not have a clue what was happening .it didnt sink in at first and no one made it clear to us that we had no choice but to return to oz other wise officials would just come and remove the babbies.oh we were told by bristish courts go back and apply for relocation the justice system in oz is very similar to ours the court will set out orders for your return by which the father must comply with so you can survive and live while you go through this process. little did we know we were being fobbed of so we would return with out to much fuss.thier are no words that could be found to describe what this put all of us through. My daughter was only 21 with two babies and knowing what her husband and his family were like i left every thing in uk to go to oz to support her.forced back by armed police it was hiddious . My daughter´s husband was waiting in the air port we had a long journey ahead so i did my best to get along.just before we were due to touch down her husband turned on me and accused me of
From Fredy / Posted: 01/11/2012
Oh, Lord. I hope you survive the long ordeal that awaits you. Be strong.
From tr / Posted: 06/11/2012
I feel for you. I lost a h case to my abusive ex. He did all terrible things to me and hy child even to the point that my child had shaken baby syndrom and a broken ear drum and still they decied my son will live with him in Sweden.
If i knew what was good for me i would have just left silently as i would have had my son right now. He is 15months old and can not speak out of the things this father does to him.
I will not stop fighting till i get my son back. As it stands right now i see him a few days a week and handing him back to his father is like a bullet to the heart every time.
I cant imagine how it must have felt to have to leave your children! I am the same with no job, money, family of friends. I am totlay alone the justic system has just failed me. I will take my case to the court of human rights when i have the money as i will not stop.
I wish for you the best my dear.
From Lucy Bowers / Posted: 26/11/2012
Im in the same boat as you. I was born in 1986 in Birmingham,England and at 10 years old my family and i moved to florida in America. I got married and had 3 beautiful girls ages 7,5 and 3. My husband passed away and i found myself lost and hopeless. About 2 years ago i met a man on facebook and found myself so much in love. My life in america was horrible,the constant emotional abuse from my late husbands parents was too much as they constantly blamed me for their sons death. I decided to move back to Enland and start a new life with my new love. Before i left i signed power of attorney saying myparents and inlaws could take my kids to school, dtrs,hospital etc but i hold sole custody of my kids.My family knew why i was moving and they supported me. We agreed in the power of attorney that after i found a job and house mykids would be brought to me. After icalled for mykids my family now refuses,its been almost a year since ive seen them. I flew out to fetch my kids,secretly,because if i would of told anyone i was coming they would of hid. But as soon as i arrived at the airport my visa was denied and i had to fly home to england. I called the police in america but they said they cannot do anything because mypower of attorney was never filed in court. My familys angry because after i married i changed my religon,but thats got nothing to do with anything in my eyes.My family tells my girls i abandoned them and now im a terrorist. It makes me sick. Im so lost i dont know what to do. American immigration said they denied my visa because my american green card expired while i was here in england and i never renewed it, they said i wont be granted re entry into the states for between 5 and 10 years. Ireally hope someone out there gives me some hope. My kids are growing up so fast and im missing out on so much. So far nobody seems to care and nobodys willing to help.
From Emily / Posted: 28/11/2012
Hi there. Pleased (and not) to read your story. For one, I do not criticise you leaving your children. Im in a very similar position myself right now in Italy. I risk losing my little boy who is 2 years old for very similar reasons. Abuse and violence have many forms, and some men are so clever as to never lay a finger but the psychological damage is huge and just as bad, if not worse than physical. I perfectly understand your decision. Im just trying to decide what to do and Im so torn, but I cant continue to incur the legal fees and in Italy everything is just so slow.

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