The family courts are kept busy these days with disputes over which parent children should live with – especially when the parents are of different nationalities.
In a recent case, an Algerian court had awarded custody to the mother of two children, with the father, an Algerian, being granted visitation rights on weekends and holidays. The practical problem with this arrangement was that the Algerian court failed to take account of the fact that the mother and children live in the UK.
Unsurprisingly, the arrangement proved unworkable. Because the mother failed to deliver the children to Algeria in accordance with the order, the result was her conviction by the Algerian court and an order that she should be imprisoned.
She resorted to the UK Family Court, which agreed that sending the children to live in Algeria would not be in their best interests and that it had jurisdiction to decide their residence.
Dealing with such issues can be difficult and distressing for all involved, especially if a parent simply takes the children to another country. In that case, the Hague Child Abduction Convention may be of assistance.