International custody battle

The girls trapped in an international custody battle will be allowed to remain in Australia.

The four girls trapped in the middle of an international custody battle will be allowed to remain in Australia until the matter is finalised in the High Court.

The girls lived with their mother and father in Italy until their parents separated in 2007. Their mother and father continued to share custody under a ‘consensual separation agreement’. In 2010 their Australian-born mother brought them on a holiday to Australia, and instead of returning as agreed with the children’s father, she stayed.

After the court ordered the girls to return to Italy they went into hiding with the aid of their Australian grandmother, great grandmother and great aunt. Their great grandmother has stated that she “would die” before giving them up. All three women could face legal action and possibly jail.

The high court will look at the matter again on Friday, and if it is decided that the case should go in front of the full-bench of the High Court then the girls may be allowed to stay in Australia until August.

More information
This article in the Brisbane Times entitled Judge orders girls to return to Italy gives a comprehensive overview of the case
Or to find out how the Italian side of the family are dealing with what they are calling the ‘abduction’ of the girls, read Aunt claims girls were abducted in the Sunshine Coast Daily

Have your say
Would you be willing to go to jail if you thought it would protect your children or grandchildren from a bad situation? Have your say on Rachel’s blog post.


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    23rd May 2012
    The article doesn't give any reasons as to why the mother wants to keep her daughters in Australia. Are they in any danger in Italy? Has their father abused them in any way? If not, then according to the law she is obliged to take them back to Italy. We are outraged when a parent in this situation "abducts" their children from Australia to an overseas country, and rightly so, so in all fairness we can't have it both ways. These girls shouldn't be separated permanently from their father; if they decide they would prefer to live in Australia then they must wait until they reach the age when they can make that decision and come legally. While I am sympathetic toward the mothers wish to remain here, she can't take the law into her own hands.
    23rd May 2012
    Couldn't agree more --- same rules for all!
    24th May 2012
    I think that the children's preference should be considered. I do not believe that children should arbitrarily be treated as unable to have an opinion. I also think that counselling for the children should come into this as well allowing the children to change their minds after an initial trial period should they so wish. Children are people not pawns.
    4th Oct 2012
    The mother disregarded international law. We'd be furious if Italy disregarded its side of the treaty and colluded in hiding children from one of their parents. As they get older, the children will be able to travel to the country of their choice. It is a pity the children have been subjected to this emotional tug of war. I hope the mother has the maturity to negotiate properly next time so they can keep in touch.

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