Mother wins appeal to have contact with her daughter abroad

A mother has won her appeal to have contact with her daughter in the United States after agreeing to several safeguards to ensure the girl would be returned to the UK.

The case involved a girl who was born in the US to a British father and a mother from the Caribbean. The girl had both British and US passports.

The parents’ relationship broke up in 2010, shortly after the father and the daughter had moved back to the UK. The mother remained in the US. Her application under the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction 1980 was dismissed and a residence order was made in favour of the father.

The mother then applied for contact to take place in the US. An officer from CAFCASS, the organisation that protects the interests of children, said the daughter enjoyed spending time in the US and needed to develop her relationship with her mother and extended family.

The mother proposed “a comprehensive range of protective and procedural measures” to alleviate the father’s concerns that she wouldn’t allow the daughter to return to the UK. These included registration in the US of any English order, retention of the daughter’s passport by an independent agent, and a “mirror” order being made in the US.

The judge ruled against the mother on the basis that the proposed safeguards would not alleviate the father’s concerns that the daughter would not be allowed to return.

That decision was overturned by the Court of Appeal. It held that the legal protection proposed by the mother was extensive. It reduced the risk of the daughter not being returned to such an extent as to bring the balance of potential benefits and detriments decisively in favour of allowing contact in the US.

Please contact us if you would like more information about the issues raised in this article or any aspect of family law.

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