Mother ‘can be trusted’ to take children to Iran

family law

A mother can be trusted to take two of her children to Iran, the Family Court has ruled.

Although she was born in England, the mother’s entire family is from the Islamic Republic. After she spent the first three years of her life here she moved with her parents to the Middle Eastern country. Twenty years later she moved back to the UK.

The mother married the father, a distant relative, in Iran back in 2002 but they spent the majority of their marriage in England where their two children were born. During their time in the UK both parents acquired British citizenship.

The couple’s marriage was “relatively uneventful” until the father admitted he was bisexual. This led to the breakdown of their relationship and they divorced shortly afterwards. While both parents had good relationships with the children, they did not get on well with each other following the divorce and there was little trust between them. As a result, two court orders had been made to determine what would happen with the children. These were a ‘shared residence order’ which stipulated that the children spend four nights with their father every two weeks and a ‘prohibited steps order’ to prevent foreign travel by both parents.

The mother sought an amendment to the latter order so she could take the children on holidays and to Iran to visit their extended family. While the father did not object to an order allowing the mother to take the children to countries which have signed the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, he did have a problem with the idea that she might take them to Iran. As his country of birth is not a signatory to the Hague Convention, the father was worried that the mother may refuse to return if she is given permission to take their children there.

Mr Justice Peter Jackson pointed out that the mother and her children were “solidly established in the United Kingdom”. He mentioned that the mother “works here in a rewarding occupation” and since her divorce has married a European citizen.

The Judge declared that the mother could “be trusted to bring the children back to England” no matter what country she took the children to. In the event that she became truly determined to go back to Iran she could use her holiday travel as a first leg on that trip so allowing her to visit some countries but not others would not make much of a difference, he explained. However, the Judge did not see this as a likely scenario because if she took the children away from their established life in England and their father, “I doubt that [they] would ever forgive her”.

He therefore ruled that the prohibited steps order should be amended. Both parents would be allowed to take their children abroad as long as they gave the other a month’s advance notice. As for Iran or other non-Convention countries, Mr Justice Peter Jackson said there would be no trips until at least 2018. This rule was put in place as a safeguard in order to calm the father’s worries.

Read the full judgment here.

Photo by Blondinrikard Fröberg via Flickr under a Creative Commons licence.

Stowe Family Law Web Team

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