4 sisters returned to Italian father after their Australian Mum took them to Australia.....dragge d kicking and screaming onto the plane.

(810 Posts)
AmberLeaf Fri 05-Oct-12 00:59:59

Apparently the girls aged between 9-15 are dual citizens.

Link sorry its the DM.

Do they not take the childs view into account in Australia?

LtEveDallas Fri 05-Oct-12 10:26:45

I accept everything people are saying - and agree with it, the parents are completely and totally in the wrong - both of them.

But. How on earth is dragging children who are hysterical, kicking and screaming, onto a plane going to help anyone ? Even if the Judge made them a ward of court in Aus - Even if they went into Foster care in Aus whilst the courts/police investigated - surely that would have been better than what has happened?

I just can't see how these children are going to ever forgive their father for this - whether he was in the right in the first place or not.

I really worry for their future sad

threesocksmorgan Fri 05-Oct-12 10:30:22

the father could be a victim in this you know.
he just might want his children back and have an ex who has used them against him.

BarbarianMum Fri 05-Oct-12 11:00:22

Can't quite see how the father is in the wrong actually.

If I was having a custody dispute with my husband and he took my kids to the other side of the world and refused to return them for 2 years, I would fight tooth and nail to get them back to the country of origin and at least get legal settlement.

The mother doesn't have to separate herself from her children, she's choosing to do so by not going back to Italy with them. Its Italy, not Iran - they do let woman have legal representation there.

Morloth Fri 05-Oct-12 11:05:36

They were in foster care in Australia. After the mother went on the run with them.

It is complicated. No one wants to see children so distressed, but you can't just ignore the law because it is hard to enforce.

You just can't.

LtEveDallas Fri 05-Oct-12 11:06:20

I think the father is in the wrong by not being there. Allowing his children to become that distressed being manhandled by strangers.

Mother was wrong to go in the first place - but we don't know why she went.

Father is wrong to push for the children to be returned when it is not what they want.

The children are the ones that are suffering the most.

niceguy2 Fri 05-Oct-12 11:13:33

How is the father wrong here?

He thought his kids were going on a holiday. They didn't return. I suspect if it was the dad who had taken his kids on this holiday and didn't return then there'd be a far greater outcry, especially on this website.

Both Italy & Australia are signatories to the Hague Convention which compels Australia to return the kids to Italy. And thankfully so too. Without the Hague convention we'd see far more parents disappearing with their kids to another country.

And if your OH/DH kidnapped your kids would you .."lay criminal charges?" Of course you would. Would you withdraw them? Probably not. By promising to do so, at first glance it does seem dad is the more reasonable one. I'm not sure I could be so gracious. It took all my self control not to kick my ex's door down when she refused to return my kids to me. Those who have never been refused contact of their own kids will never understand.

It would seem from the 2nd link that the main reason the girls are resisting going back is because they've been unfairly influenced by mum. Kids are kids at the end of the day and it's easy to manipulate them by feeding them a diet of how bad dad is, how much trouble mum will be in. How she can't live without them etc etc.

From where I'm standing mum is firmly to blame here. She should have fought this in Italy. She fucked off to Australia, prompting a big legal battle and then made the entire thing public in an effort to garner public sympathy.

I'm glad it didn't work. To allow her to have done this is the thin end of the wedge.

threesocksmorgan Fri 05-Oct-12 11:18:30

niceguy I rarely agree with you, but this time I do.

HiHowAreYou Fri 05-Oct-12 11:23:45

If an ex partner stole my children, and I didn't see them for two years, then they whipped them up into a frenzy of distress before they were returned to me, instead of being a good parent and trying to keep them as calm and happy about things as possible, for their sake, I would be very surprised to see the public opinion favouring the other parent's side to be honest.

LtEveDallas Fri 05-Oct-12 11:24:20

Guys, I absolutely don't disagree with you. I just cannot get over how distressed the children were - and I don't think they will get over it either.

Estranged from mum and dad - How is that what is best for the kids?

differentnameforthis Fri 05-Oct-12 11:49:40

The voice of reason, well done niceguy!

differentnameforthis Fri 05-Oct-12 12:28:09

the 'system' didn't listen to them

The system WILL listen to them, it is just that the children need to be in Italy to tell it to the judges who know the back story. Then the judges can decide. As it is, the mother has done NONE of them any favours by tricking their father this way. It isn't about who should have custody, it is about the mother ILLEGALLY keeping the children from their father for over 2 years.

They will now go into foster care until they can be spoken to & the judges decide what to do.

There is money from the father for the mother so she can follow them home. She is, so far, refusing to do so.

There is NO evidence that the father is abusive. There IS evidence that the mother has brainwashed the children against him.

differentnameforthis Fri 05-Oct-12 12:33:02

The father apparently had lodged criminal charges against the mother in Italy If this is because of the kidnap, he has dropped those charges so she can return with/for the girls.

And there will now need to be yet another custody hearing for the girls to endure in Italy It was never about custody. It was about the mother removing them illegally. Of course now, custody will have to be looked in due to the mother's actions.

The mother is concerned that in returning for this, she lays herself open to arrest by the authorities there, with a subsequent vilification that will harm her custody case She screwed up her chances the moment she refused to send them home as promised.

differentnameforthis Fri 05-Oct-12 12:35:13

Oh & line runner, all police are armed here. They were removed by police. Saying they were armed police makes it sound like they took guns in the expectation of using them.

EldritchCleavage Fri 05-Oct-12 12:42:26

Of course we don't know what the father is like or why the marriage failed. But the events in Australia are down to the mother.

One article linked to says:

"A judge found the girls had been “unfairly influenced” by their mother and her family in a very disturbing and very public campaign to keep them in Australia.

"He said: “It is important to remember the children’s objections are principally founded in a belief that their mother cannot return with them”.

"The girls’ Australian mother said she would be arrested if she returned to Italy, however the judge sought and received an understanding from their Italian father that he would withdraw any criminal complaints against her"

Which doesn't say much for the mother, in my book. And if she were so determined to fight for her children, it would surely have been better to do it in Italy in the first place, wouldn't it? If my children were sent to Italy, I'd go with them even if it meant I'd go to prison there. At least the kids could visit me. I would rather do that than let my children be dragged onto planes screaming by strangers.

A terrible drama has been created with the children as pawns at the centre of it. Very sad.

Pooka Fri 05-Oct-12 12:43:35

Agree with nice guy and differentname.

While I can see from the mothers perspective that it must have been very difficult to imagine staying in Italy after the relationship breakdown, I can also see that from the fathers perspective it is equally distressing that his children were taken away and not returned and the mother seems to have thwarted contact.

Te blame for the children's distress cannot be laid entirely at the father's feet. He he not in respect of the law done anything wrong. The mother abducted their children.

Bonsoir Fri 05-Oct-12 12:50:41

The breakdown of international marriages is a massive issue for child custody. The Hague Convention is hugely simplistic and takes no account of the reasons why a couple may have chosen to settle in the jurisdiction of the father as opposed to that of the mother. Many mothers find themselves living in countries they never agreed to live in in the first place, with no way of supporting themselves independently. If they wish to leave their husband and return to their home country in order to support themselves, the law categorically allows a husband to prevent a wife from taking her children with her.

domesticgodless Fri 05-Oct-12 12:52:32

I think that 2 years after the breakdown of the relationship the CHILDREN'S welfare should be the primary consideration. Not the mother's.... OR the father's.

The father may well have suffered in this and that is deeply regrettable, but I am sorry, this is not about him or his 'rights', it is about his children.

no one wants their children taken away from them. I personally had to give up my job so that my ex could have the 50:50 custody he insisted on. I would never try to alter this now as my children are settled in the arrangement. But then, my ex is not an abuser and they adore him. No one knows what has been going on here.

I am horrified by a. the lack of a welfare provision in the Hague convention b. the fact that so many posters on here think that institutional violence toward children is justified under the aegis of father's rights.

The situation here is clearly that the children's wishes are to stay where they are. And to be honest I think that any truly caring parent would have to work WITH that rather than against it. I am not claiming I know how exactly. But this is clearly not the way.

domesticgodless Fri 05-Oct-12 12:55:26

It's pretty clear tbh from most of the above posts that people increasingly see their children as THEIR possessions.

All the stuff above about 'I would do anything to see my children... I would kick doors in etc....'

Well of course we all desperately want to see our children but would you want them manhandled screaming onto a plane to be with you? REALLY?

I wouldn't and tbh in a dreadful situation like this I think I'd do anything I could to see them, fly to Australia, try to relocate there, etc, get contact in Aus courts. But I wouldn't have them subject to this. Never.

reddwarf Fri 05-Oct-12 12:57:26

I feel most sorry for the kids of course, then the father. I feel the mother has acted very wrongly many times, by taking them, by refusing to return them, by going on the run with them, by making such a scene when they had to go, by not going back to Italy with them. It seems to ba all about her - she doesn't seem to be putting them first at any point. And it would also appear she's turning the kids against their dad.

Don't know the background, but I'm assuming the girls were born and brought up in Australia. WIth inter-country marriages, I really think you have to accept that if the relationship ends, the kids should stay put.

saffronwblue Fri 05-Oct-12 12:58:08

It has been a dreadful case. The mother did a runner with them and broke the law. Australia is a signatory to the Hague convention, we can't just ignore it. The judge thought that the mother had dragged out the court case in order to then say that the girls were adjusted to Australia because they had been here for 2 years.
I think the mother could have tried to be a bit calmer, tell the girls it will all be Ok, hop on the next plane to Italy and work out how to co-parent there. I think her hysteria has been transmitted to the girls in full and that is going to make it so hard for them to settle.

domesticgodless Fri 05-Oct-12 13:00:12

'if the relationship ends the kids should stay put'

Even if you are their primary carer?

How many men could be primary carers for 4 kids or would want to be?

Why shouldn't they have to relocate if they want contact? (that seems unreasonable doesn't it? So why is it reasonable to expect a woman to stay somewhere where she probably had no 'life' at all except the relationship?) - which is often all fathers actually want if you look at the case law on the Hague convention- they want the mother to have to stay in a foreign country for most of the rest of her life, so they can see the kids every 2 weeks. It's not about the kids at all. It is about father's rights.

domesticgodless Fri 05-Oct-12 13:01:34

Riiiiight Saffron... so you don't think it woudl have been 'unsettling' at all for 4 girls of that age to lose their established home, school, friends, etc?
hmm

even if you do agree that this was the right decision which of course I do not, that is obvious wishful thinking.

tryingtoleave Fri 05-Oct-12 13:04:11

Having studied Australian family law about ten years ago I was really surprised by the outcome. All the similar cases we studied ended with the children being left with the kidnapping parent because it was 'in the best interests of the child'. The difference now must be that the Hague convention overrules that.

domesticgodless Fri 05-Oct-12 13:04:21

I expect that in 1 years time the 15 year old will be straight back on the plane to Aus as he won't be able to stop her then. No doubt having to leave her siblings behind.

The Hague Convention is supposed to take account of the wishes and feelings of children and the presumption that a child can make her own decisions is supposed to increase with age. In a previous case only younger children were despatched abroad to the father (and it's usually the father in these cases.... most 'abductors' are women returning to families and jobs abroad). That was clearly awful too. But quite possibly in a short time the effect on this family will be the same.

Bonsoir Fri 05-Oct-12 13:04:26

The argument that the Hague Convention uses to justify the one-year rule is that children shouldn't be uprooted. This is a thin and tenuous argument in this day and age. Many children of international marriages will be well travelled and well acquainted with several countries, and move in international circles. The trauma of losing their mother would be a lot greater than the trauma of changing school/country.

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