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Aibu - kids in US wwyd?

(49 Posts)
Craftyfox Mon 22-Jan-18 18:28:33

Advice needed!
TLDR - Dsc in us, concerned re safeguarding- what do I do?

My DP has 2 children who currently live in America with his exW.

They moved there around 18months ago (few months after me and DP met) as she had met a man online and was marrying him. Agreement was made informally (not via court order) that access was to be regularly made as DP was a very involved parent.

Since she went there contact has been sporadic and dropped off to no contact. The eldest DC is on PS4 and has a (monitored) mobile phone. On xmas day we managed to skype/ FaceTime eldest DC who let slip they were not with the new husband and were ‘house sitting’ on xmas day. Due to poor weather in the states this child has been left unattended during the day there recently and has been playing on PS4 with DP on evening (our time). we have found out the relationship has broken down, that new husband has been hospitalised for MH issues at some point in last few months and that they (this weekend) moved in with mummy’s new boyfriend.

We know nothing of this from ExP and are increasingly concerned for children particularly as the elder child seems to be main carer for younger child.

I have done quite a bit of googling re hauge convention and we have spoken to civil legal advice line - to be told that we don’t qualify as we earn too much (about 45k together before tax) despite advice seeming to be that in cases such as this help of some sort would be available?

Basically what do I do? The children are now living at an unknown location with an unknown adult. They have no access to their father or extended loving and involved family and our feeling is that they are unhappy. We want them safe. As someone who used to work in a child protection environment every red flag I have is up. How the hell do we fix this? HELP!!

SparklyMagpie Mon 22-Jan-18 18:39:09

I'm so sorry I can't be of any help but just bumping this for you as I'm sure you'll get some great advice

TheUglyFive Mon 22-Jan-18 18:41:37

Do you know the school district the children are in? Contact them.

Sorry for short post am on phone

RedHelenB Mon 22-Jan-18 18:43:42

How old are the children?

Dipitydoda Mon 22-Jan-18 18:46:11

Can you both or DH fly out there and find out what’s happening? That would be my first instinct to get in a plane and get there. How old are the kids? Frankly any parent that would move so far away from the other involved parent is bloody selfish

Dipitydoda Mon 22-Jan-18 18:49:50

Also maybe a call to some govt department in the us? Why is she being allowed to stay in USA?

Italiangreyhound Mon 22-Jan-18 18:52:14

This sounds very difficult. If she allowed to take kids out of the country like this?

Could your husband go over and asses situation first hand?

I think I'd want to do that. I'd also try not to be too adversarial. See of she may voluntarily come back to you. Offer support with children and not try and shame her for failures initially. She may be ready to come back. No child care , no home etc. If she felt she'd get support in UK she may feel able to move bad and put experience beyond her.

Kursk Mon 22-Jan-18 18:56:39

What’s the nationality of the kids/Mum? If British then there is no way they are there legally and could (should) be deported.

Italiangreyhound Mon 22-Jan-18 18:56:58

Back to UK not you!

Julie8008 Mon 22-Jan-18 19:01:44

The Hauge convention doesn't apply as she hasn't abducted the children, they went there with both parents agreement.

You need to contact your MP for advise, fly over there and instruct an American solicitor.

Craftyfox Mon 22-Jan-18 19:02:04

Sorry didn’t want to drip feed children 5 & 12. She has family here who again were very involved (they lived with GP (her parents) for a month or so before they moved and they would take her back)

Agreement to allow her to move with dc was given - don’t want to be adversarial with her at all. We don’t know where they actually are and know from conversation that there is talk of moving schools again (this will be 3rd we know of) we’re scared she’s going to go off radar entirely tbh. Officially we don’t know that they’ve moved/ split etc or anything. She’s going out of way to block information and we don’t want to hurt the children by forcing them into informing or feeling they need to pick sides. Honestly I don’t know how she still has recidency / green card in US

RedHelenB Mon 22-Jan-18 19:04:30

At 12 the eldest can communicate with you. Just make sure they have all your contact info and make it clear that you will drop everything to come to them should they need you to. Other than that I'm not sure what you can do.

Lifeisabeach09 Mon 22-Jan-18 19:09:03

You could try notifying the British Embassy in DC and explain the situation. Also, try getting an address out of DS1. Say you want to send presents.
Difficult situation. Hope it works out.

Allthebestnamesareused Mon 22-Jan-18 19:12:55

ask the 12 year old for the address.

Kursk Mon 22-Jan-18 19:13:29

Based on what you have said, it’s highly highly. unlikely that she has a green card. The application process takes 12-18 months. That’s before she is even allowed to move to the USA. Then They must marry within 90 days of arriving and provide proof for the visa.

Immigration will be looking for her.

A call to the right people and they will be back in the UK within 48 hours.

Italiangreyhound Mon 22-Jan-18 19:15:21

"...we don’t want to hurt the children by forcing them into informing or feeling they need to pick sides..."

Very sadly I think that day will come. Make sure the eldest has multiple means to consct you that she can write down and store and memorize maybe a very simple email address.

I'd be wantog to get her back to UK or kids back to UK and not give permission again. I think it may become adversorisl but if she is homeless, moving a lot I'd say she is not in a good place.

To be honest I would not wait if they were my kids. I would take legal advice now.

I'd try and get address from 12 year old,bit school or whatever, say for a later date but I'd be over for a surprise visit. Not warn kids. Take lots of goodies and look like normal visit. But if shit hits fan enlist the help of the in laws.

But I am Not a solicitor so would take legal advice first.

Craftyfox Mon 22-Jan-18 19:22:52

Thanks everyone - feel much less at sea already!

ThriceUponATime Mon 22-Jan-18 19:27:37

Contact the Foreign Office's Consular department - 0207 008 1500 - for advice. They'll probably suggest you make contact with Child Protective Services - I'm sure they'll help you make contact, but if not you can always google the state/county and find the details.

My instinct, like Dipitydoda would be to get on a plane and find out what's happening. But be careful - if your DP were to bring them back to the UK without his ExW's permission he would be abducting them and she could use the Hague Convention to get them back. You can't use it to bring them to the UK as they weren't abducted.

expatinscotland Mon 22-Jan-18 19:34:14

Sounds like she has no right to remain in the US now. I'd look at shopping her to immigration there.

Mummaofboys Mon 22-Jan-18 19:34:16

In all honesty I would fly out pretend I’m visiting and get the kids on a plane home with you guys. I would be worried sick and if the mother is incapable of looking after these kids I believe this would be the best course of action.

JaneEyre70 Mon 22-Jan-18 19:38:05

Initial thoughts are the British Embassy in the US, Child protective services in the area where they are, and the Foreign Advice in London to get some more specific advice.
I'd also send your DP on the first flight out there, if there is a strong chance that the children aren't being looked after. The mother sounds unstable frankly, this must be an awful situation for your DP.

Elocutioner Mon 22-Jan-18 19:40:34

Is his consent to the move to the US in writing? She didn't abduct them but I'm wondering whether circumstances for them have changed so materially that it might be worth getting legal advice on the possibility of getting them back.

Failing that find a family lawyer in the US and ask them what they would advise.

Does the 12 year old want to come back? If your DP is sure that, if asked by the court, the 12 year old will want to stay with you then this may allow you to do something.

Elocutioner Mon 22-Jan-18 19:41:17

Please don't listen to anyone who says just bring them home. That's abduction and you could lose any hope of seeing them again.

MrsMoastyToasty Mon 22-Jan-18 19:41:36

Do ex-PIL know where she is? Can DP raise concerns with them?

HotelEuphoria Mon 22-Jan-18 19:42:37

No it wouldn't. You can't just "pinch" the kids back especially if she had the fathers approval to take them out if the country. It's very complicated.

Since it certainly does appear that she will be in breach of the terms of her visa I agree that involving the authorities is the best way to go to get them all back legally.

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