wife doesn't plan to return home with kids

            Posted on December 13, 2015  

         Wife doesn’t plan to return home with kids

Q. After finishing high school in the United States, my wife came to Israel to go to college. That’s where we met. We married after we both finished college. We decided to move to what was Israel’s first Kibbutz – Degania Alef – near the Southern end of the Sea of Galilee. Degania Alef became deserted in the 1980’s because younger people were unable to earn a living there. But now it’s being repopulated. We had two children. Life was good, but hard.

This past September, my wife’s parents said they’d pay for us and the children to come to Massachusetts for the Jewish High Holiday of Rosh Hashanah. My work schedule prevented me from leaving, so my wife went with the kids.

Now it’s December. She told me she and our children are not coming back because I’m crazy for living in this Kibbutz. What do I have to do and prove to get our back to Israel?

A. The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction requires that the court must return the children to their habitual residence if you prove:

§ Your children were under 16 years old when they were wrongfully removed or retained from their habitual residence. (Article 1).

§ The wrongful act breached your rights of custody. (Articles 3 and 5).

§ At the time of wrongful act, you were exercising your rights of custody. (Article 1).

If you wait more than a year after the wrongful act to file your petition for return of the children, the court can refuse to order a return if the children have become settled in their new environment (Article 12). But, although rare, even if you miss the one-year filing and the children are settled into their new environment, the court can still enter an order of return.

I would bet your wife has been making her complaints to her parents for years. She could have decided to not return if she could get the kids to Massachusetts. Or maybe her decision was made after she arrived at her parents’ home because they told her she’d be nuts if she went back.

To prevent a return, your wife could claim the children would be exposed to a grave risk of harm if they were returned (Article 13b). But that’s a subject for another article. In the meantime, you can read about that and other Hague questions if you buy my new eBook, available on Amazon, or go to my website, nissenbaumhickey.com