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International child abduction is a popular topic in today’s media. These stories are usually sensational, emotional and ask people to think of the effects of being involved in an overseas family law jurisdiction. Unfortunately, due to the international nature, it is often the case that the focus of the report is a parent’s struggle to have their children returned to them in their “home” country.
One mother however was successful in using the law of the jurisdiction to which her children had been taken to have the children returned to her care. The SBS’s
Insight program reported that after her husband and father of the children travelled to Dubai with their two children, the mother was forced to travel to Dubai and make an application under Sharia Law for divorce and parenting.
Whilst it is acknowledged in the report that the father was supposed to provide the mother with a visa to travel to Dubai with the rest of her family, and indeed did live as a family unit with the father for a period of time, the final decision was a result of a long, 5 year legal battle. It is reported that the mother was in Court every two weeks for divorce proceedings (it is not clear whether this included property and parenting matters) and in doing so, was faced with subverting the Sharia Law belief that the children should live with and be provided for by their father. To create further distaste for the father, he is required under law to pay for both parents’ legal costs.
After winning custody, or an order being made for the children to live with their mother, the mother retuned to Australia and recommenced her life with her children here. The mother makes a point of noting in the article that she never wanted to stop the children having a relationship with their father, however it is not explained in the report how a co-parenting relationship occurred once the children were living in Australia.
The report notes that once the mother was back in Australia with the children she did not want to agitate a new application for parenting Orders under Australia’s Family Law Act 1975 (Cth). This effect of this decision will be different for each family law matter’s circumstances, however, having Orders in the country you reside in is the best protection you have to ensure the parenting arrangements continue.
When seeking advice on your family law matter, it is important to communicate to your lawyer all possible jurisdictions that may be involved in the matter. Whilst this may mean you need to also seek family law advice from a lawyer practicing in the other relevant jurisdiction, it is best to ensure you are aware of all your options and what jurisdiction is likely to give you the family law Orders you want. Please do not hesitate to contact Armstrong Legal for advice on your family law matter generally or if you consider there may be jurisdictional issues involved. Whatever the problem, we have the experience and international connects to work on your matter in a way that will help you achieve the result you need for your family.
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