mom flees country, controlling husband

            Posted on November 27, 2016 

Mom flees country, controlling husband

Q.   I’m a native of Belgium. While traveling in Israel, I had a few dates with Ari, a citizen there. I became pregnant, we married and decided to live there in his family’s large home.

Giving birth was easy compared to living with Ari. He was controlling, jealous and had lots of other rules. If he decided I violated an Ari rule, he took our son, Saul, from my care for one or more days. I felt trapped. So I planned an escape.

My parents came to visit me, bringing with them a Belgium-issued passport for Saul. My parents accepted an invitation to stay in Ari’s parents’ house. One day my parents, Saul and I went on a tour of the city. Ari hired the guide. To not raise suspicion, my parents left their belongings at the house. At one tour stop, we went in one door of a museum and out another, leaving the driver waiting outside. We took a cab to the Israeli airport, got on the next plane to Belgium before Ari could get a court order.

Once in Belgium, I hid with Saul for about 18 months. We moved every few weeks. My parents didn’t know where we lived until I decided to go live with them. Then my husband filed a Hague Convention case in Brussels requesting Saul be returned to Israel.

What I should expect?

A.   Based on these facts, if your husband started his Hague case within one year after you removed Saul from Israel, the Belgium courts would probably entered an order that Saul be immediately returned. But the judge can find that Saul has become acclimated to his new country, having been there for 18 months. In part, those 18 months were times when Saul was old enough to understand what he was seeing, etc., something he wasn’t likely able to do as an infant while he was in Israel.

Based on discussions with my lawyer-friends who do removal cases in Belgium, if you lived there, Ari’s request to relocate with Saul to any other place would be very hard to get because Belgium courts start with a belief that both parents have equal rights. But in these circumstances, that built-in belief might work against you.

If the Belgium trial court orders Saul be returned to Israel, and you lose appeals to higher Belgium courts, you then appeal to the European Court of Human Rights, located in Strasbourg, France. It has the power to overrule the Belgium court. That court looks at things from Saul’s point of view. That part of the case will take another two years, so by then Saul will be acclimated to Brussels.

So, no matter how much Ari tries to impose his rules and push the proverbial envelope, Saul will most likely stay stationary in Brussels.