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Court orders that children be returned to mother in America

A court has ordered that two children who were abducted by their father should be returned to their mother in the United States.

The case involved an American mother and a British father. They had married in the United States and had two children. They lived in the US while they were married.

Following the break-up of the marriage, the children continued living with the father but were visited often by the mother.

The father was then charged with assault on a former girlfriend. He also found himself in severe financial difficulties. To avoid facing the charge and to be closer to his family because of his financial problems, he decided to return to the UK taking the children with him.

He did not tell the mother he was leaving or give her a forwarding address.

As soon as the mother discovered what had happened, she began legal proceedings under the Hague Convention to have the children returned to the United States.

The father claimed that she had consented to the removal of the children. He also submitted that the risk of imprisonment and his financial difficulties could expose the children to psychological harm if he were forced to return to the US.

The court, however, granted the motherís application to have the children returned. It held that the father had failed to show that she had consented to the removal of the children. In fact, the evidence suggested the opposite.

As far as the assault charge was concerned, the court was not convinced that the father would be arrested or that if he was, the children would be not be sufficiently cared for by the mother and the US welfare system.

In any case, the father had to accept responsibility for his situation. To accept his arguments would give a signal to would be abductors that they could improve their case by breaking the law and by giving up their employment so they have no money.

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