Family lawyers from Veale Wasbrough Vizards (VWV) has recently acted in a complex dispute between separated parents over the country of residence for their children.
M, the mother, and F, the father, are of Eritrean origin, having left the country as children they are now respectively British and Dutch citizens.
M lives in England with their two children and wishes to relocate to Uganda with them, whilst F lives between Holland and Eritrea and wants to take his children home to Eritrea for holidays, for them to experience Eritrean life and culture.
Expert evidence was sought on the international aspects of the case and concluded that: Eritrea remains a one-party dictatorship; it is not part of the Hague Convention, meaning there is no guarantee that an English court order would be enforced; the children could be denied an exit visa or would be subjected to compulsory conscription.
The court trusted that M would promote contact with F and agreed with the father that an order should be registered in Uganda, which mirrors a Child Arrangement Order in the UK, maintaining the existing arrangements for contact between the children and the father.
However, the court did not grant permission to the father to take the children to Eritrea, considering that the risks currently outweighed the benefits. The court acknowledged that they could experience Eritrean culture away from Eritrea, through F’s family.
Sam Hickman, a partner in VWV's divorce and family law team, who represented the father, commented: “These cases are likely to become more common place and it is crucial to obtain advice from a family solicitor with international experience as early as possible to ensure a smooth transition."
VWV's family law team comprises six solicitors who can advise on legal issues, ranging from divorce to prenuptial and postnuptial agreements, as well as child arrangement orders and civil partnerships.
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