Some of you will be aware of the situation I was in ten years ago when I was trapped in Australia with my son because his abusive father wouldn't allow us to return home. I know a lot of you read my book about it.
For the past year I have been working on a voluntary basis supporting and advising mums in similar situations who are trapped all over the world. We have now set up a petition on change.org to demand a change in the Hague Convention law to stop women who return to their 'home' country with their children being classed as child abductors. This is not a petition to remove children from their fathers out of spite, or to deny a child contact with its father. It is a petition to recognise that when families of one nationality move to another country for a period of time and the move doesn't work out, then the primary carer of the children can move back to the home country with the children. In the cases we deal with, the primary carer in 99% of the cases is the mum.
The Hague Convention of International Parental Child Abduction is very complex and does not take in to account individual circumstances. This needs to change, as many children are being sent back to a country that neither they or their parents were born in, in order for that country's Family Court to make a decision on where they live. In some of our cases, British families who have moved to New Zealand are having the New Zealand courts decide that the children are to remain living in New Zealand because the father does not want to return and live in the UK, but the mother of the children have been unable to obtain NZ residency and have been deported without their children.
As the current law stands, British families are at risk when they move abroad for short periods of time for either a trial migration to see if they like it before deciding on a permanent move, temporary promotion or to gain work experience. If one parent decides they like it there and aren't going to return to the UK (regardless of what the agreement was before they moved) then the other parent cannot return with the children without consent. In the majority of our cases, it is mums who are trapped overseas without family support or financial support when the relationship breaks down.
Please have a look at the petition, and if you agree the law needs to change then please sign it and share it with your friends and families. Please pass this information on to anyone who you know is thinking of moving overseas, even for a short time, as this could affect them.
Our Facebook page and support group is Expat Stuck Mums. We are voluntary supporters without fund raising.
Thanks for reading, I hope you can help our cause.https://www.change.org/p/permanent-bureau-hague-conference-on-private-international-law-support-the-going-home-together-campaign-2015-stop-the-hague-convention-being-used-as-a-weapon-against-expat-mothers-who-just-want-to-return-home-with-their-children-after-a-failed-reloca