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can l leave the states with my son?

(14 Posts)
glasgowgirlinparis Mon 15-Jun-09 03:15:09

i have been a lurker on mumsnet since the birth of DS 15 months ago - it has been a godsend for me! This is my first post.

I currently live in the states with my DS and DH. We moved here from France in jan this year. We are here under his work visa. My DH is french, we were married under french law in Mauritius 2007. I am scottish, but our DS is french only. Seeing as l was born abroad, my DS does not automatically receive UK citizenship. I have applied for this, it is being processed.

My DH is verbally abusive and has gotten worse since our DS was born. We did see a psychologist briefly last year in France and l came to the states on the basis he would continue to see one as it seemed to have helped...he has not seen one yet.

I cannot stand his comments, nastiness or anger anymore. I have been keeping a diary of all events and have confided (to an extent)in my sisters and his sister-in-law.

I want to go back to scotland with our DS to live with my family whilst l work out my next
steps. I am completely financially dependent on DH. He will not leave our apartment here and we cannot afford two apartments.

I have contacted CAB, they said l could come back to the UK with DS indefinetly but need to check with UK Borders Control. I am worried about the Hague Convention.

I do not intend to stop my DH from seeing our DS, but l cannot live like this anymore and feel the only option is to leave the country.

Can anyone please advise? Can l leave the states and go back to scotland with DS? Do l need DH's agreement (he won't)? Can l start separation/divorce proceedings in scotland?

Hope this is clear and sorry for the long post.

SuperBunny Mon 15-Jun-09 03:39:32

No. You mustn't. In theory, you should have a notarised letter from your H stating that you have his permission to take DS out of the country. It is quite possible that if you tried to leave, no-one would question you but, if they did stop you, you would in effect be kidnapping your son and that is not taken lightly.

If your DH is in the US, you need to do the divorce there.

Where is the US are you?

glasgowgirlinparis Mon 15-Jun-09 14:02:43

thanks for your reply.

I am in Philadelphia. I have the no of a good lawyer here and in scotland. I am also in contact with the UK consulate representative here in Philly but his powers to help me are fairly limited. I have started to save a little money, but it would pay for one hour only with a lawyer which is better than nothing.

I have no idea how to go forward here in the states, he has made it clear it is war if l take any action and l believe he will be very nasty. He is stating he will not financially support me even though l know it is not his decision.

As his wife l know that everything we have is split 50/50 including his salary, so l suppose l am entitled to use that money to consult a lawyer??

Thanks again for the advice, the last thing l want to do is kidnap my son!!

glasgowgirlinparis Mon 15-Jun-09 14:12:17

Just another question, is there any point in me having a phone consultation with a scottish lawyer? Or am l better to spend the money consulting the lawyer in Philly?

I am still thinking that a scottish lawyer will better serve my interests but if l cannot leave the country without my husband's consent, would there be any point contacting the scottish lawyer?

Thanks again

babybarrister Mon 15-Jun-09 14:13:08

I disagree I am afraid with Superbunny - it is a matter of US law as well as International law [ie Hague convention and also possibly Brussels II R] and you need to consult with a very good US lawyer. The starting point for most common law jurisdictions is that their jurisdiction re kids relies upon whether they consider you to be resident or not. You have been in the US for 6 months. It would also depend on where you intend to go as if your DS lived in France for the majority of his life it is arguable that their courts should take he decisions about where he should live ....
I am not aware of a specialist family lawyers association but I am sure that googling would help.

You MAY be better divorcing in the US but you may not be - I do not know. You need to take advice from lawyers in the various jurisdictions where you may be able to divorce .... ie Scotland, France, Mauritius and US as to which is going to be most beneficial and whether you can in fact bring a case there. There is an international association of matrimonial lawyers who might be a good starting point to find a lawyer able to deal with the various options which may or may not be open to you ....

good luck

glasgowgirlinparis Mon 15-Jun-09 14:23:06

Thanks babybarrister, l had the feeling this was going to be a complicated case. My head is spinning a bit!

Think l'll google associations as advised and take it from there. Thanks again.

SuperBunny Mon 15-Jun-09 17:01:45

An attorney should give you a free consultation for an hour or so to help you work out what you need to do and how to proceed. It won't hurt to talk to a solicitor in Scotland or elsewhere and it is possible to divorce from there but might not be easy. In fact, it won't be.

Things won't necessarily be split 50/50 so don't assume you'll be entitled to anything until you have spoken to a solicitor. How things are split depends on the legal system you are using. For me, it worked out better to use the US system rather than the British one but I really had no choice.

Having spent the last 3 yrs going through the same thing, I know it is complicated and very $$$.

Good Luck.

SuperBunny Mon 15-Jun-09 17:03:58

Also, if money is an issue, contact your local Law School and see if they do free or cheap clinics - several round here do that. You probably won't qualify for pro bono work but you could look into it.

Also, if you can get DS out of the US for a short break with DH's permission then that might help.

There are some friendly folk on the Living in the US thread

SuperBunny Mon 15-Jun-09 17:07:04

1 more thing... there are some lawyers who deal in International Cases. I talked to a couple but they weren't actually able to help very much and were hugely expensive but might be worth talking to, if you can find one.

Your consulate should be able to recommend local law firms that deal with cross border cases.

glasgowgirlinparis Tue 16-Jun-09 00:22:49

thanks superbunny, l'll def look into local law schools, l just cannot afford a lawyer. It's depressing!

I might be going to scotland in july for a visit so that will allow me to get more info.

Just wondering, how long did your divorce take? Three years?

Our visa ends in Sept 2011 so l'm not sure how that changes things??

Thanks for the advice, l feel more in control of my situation despite bloody legal costs!

l'll let you know how l get on.

babybarrister Wed 17-Jun-09 11:16:02

try american association for matrimonial lawyers aaml

glasgowgirlinparis Wed 17-Jun-09 15:27:25

Googled the association and have contacted two layers in philly and one in scotland. Speaking with a couple today, thanks a lot for the link!

HerHonesty Wed 17-Jun-09 19:27:28

how long till he gets british citizenship?

glasgowgirlinparis Wed 17-Jun-09 19:51:31

up to 6 months or a year for citizenship. Would it help if he had his UK passport in my situation?

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