In a development which echoes therecent high-profile case in Australia, the 4 Welsh children involved in anInternational Custody dispute are reported as having written emotional letters to the Judge, asking him not to send them back to Spain. The letters then appear to have been released to the media by the mother's family, in support of her argument that the children should remain in this country.
Whilst on the face of it, return orders made in Abduction proceedings can seem a harsh outcome, many people do not realise that they are in fact, usually only the first stage of proceedings and do not mean that the children subject to them will necessarily have to remain in that country in the long term. Abduction proceedings essentially determine jurisdiction - so which countries courts should deal with the decision aboutResidence and Contact - if the children are then ordered back to the country from where they were taken, there are then usually further proceedings in that country to determine and with whom they should live in the long term, and those proceedings take into acount factors such as the wishes and feelings of the children.
Involving the Children so publically in a media campaign is generally considered to be unwise, and can be considered harmful to the children.The outcome of the Australian case, where 4 sisters were placed on a plane back to their father in Italy whilst punching and kicking the social workers putting them on the plane in protest, demonstrates that in these proceedings, the law will be applied strictly, and a public campaign, no matter how high profile, will not influence the decision of the court which is bound by strict international laws as to how these cases must be dealt with.It is hoped that for the good of the children, this matter does not become as embittered and protracted as the Australian example, and that a suitable resolution can be found and explained to them in a way which helps them to understand the process by which their long-term fate will be decided.
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