An Irish father who refused to return his Australian-resident son from Ireland after taking him there for a holiday has been ordered by the Irish courts to return the boy to his mother in Australia. The international family law relocation case heard that the father was motivated by a fear that he would not be able in future to obtain a visa to come to visit his son in Australia.
However, as Ireland is a signatory to the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, the Irish courts were compelled to comply with their international legal obligations thereunder.
Having now failed in his appeal against the original High Court order for the return of the boy, the father has signalled his intention to further apply to the Supreme Court for another appeal in the case. The result of his new application to appeal is expected within a few weeks, and the return order has had a stay placed on it until the determination of the Supreme Court.
The boy’s parents were estranged but had shared parental responsibility of the child, who it was agreed by both parties was habitually resident in Australia until late last year. Although the mother had allowed the child to visit Ireland for a holiday, she had not consented to his remaining there and she began proceedings for wrongful retention of the boy.
In the family law relocation case, the court heard:
The boy has a “deep and loving relationship” with both parents. The child told a psychologist he wished they could all live together in Australia or that his father could be Australian so he could go there whenever he chose, or that Ireland and Australia could be “one big land”.
The father’s argument that he would be unable to obtain a visa to enter Australia to visit his son was undermined by the mother having given an undertaking to support the father’s visa application. The appeal court “also supported the High Court’s view that the Australian immigration authorities should look favourably upon granting visas to allow the father [to] exercise rights already given to him by the Australian courts where there were separate family law proceedings”.
Do you need advice in relation to a family law relocation situation? Please contact Canberra family lawyer Cristina Huesch or one of our other experienced solicitors here at Alliance Legal Services on (02) 6223 2400.
Please note our blogs are not legal advice. For information on how to obtain the correct legal advice, please contact Alliance Legal Services.