Thursday, 9 August 2012

The Problems Faced By International Families When They Separate

The press have reported a recent Court of Appeal case concerning "Baby L". Baby L was born in England to an English mother and a Portuguese father. The family then moved to Portugal where they separated. The parents agreed that their baby would spend alternating two month periods with each parent until he is three. This agreement was made a court order by a Portuguese Court. The mother then returned to England with Baby L saying that she had been coerced into the agreement and asked the English Court to change the arrangements, which she felt were no longer appropriate as the parents are now living in different countries. The Court of Appeal held that they cannot deal with this issue. They said that it should be dealt with by the Portuguese Court.

Many families now have an international element. If such a relationship ends the international element can significantly complicate arrangements for children. It is therefore very important that expert advice is obtained from a family law solicitor who is an expert in international family law. This advice should be taken immediately upon the relationship ending, as removing a child from a country without the other parent's agreement is parental child abduction.

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