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Mother ordered to return her son to father under Hague Convention

A mother who brought her son to live in England has been ordered to return him to Poland where he had become habitually resident.

The case involved a Polish couple who lived in England and had a child in 2020. The mother had a child from a previous relationship who saw his father once a week.

In 2021, they bought the mother’s council house and rented it out informally. They then moved to Poland and lived with the father’s parents in a large house.

The relationship broke down and the mother claimed the father had been abusive towards her and her older son.

She moved to her parents’ house in Poland for four months before returning to live in England.

The father applied to have his son returned to Poland under the Hague Convention.

The mother argued that the child had been habitually resident in England, not Poland, at that time and he was at grave risk of physical or psychological harm if he returned to Poland because of the father’s alleged abusive behaviour.

She said the time in Poland had been just a trial period, and that if the court ordered the younger son’s return she would be put in an impossible position as the older son and had said he would refuse to return.

The court ruled in favour of the father.

It held that the child was not habitually resident in England and had connections with both Poland and England, in terms of GP registration and citizenships.

The couple had bought the house in England as an investment and their move to Poland was intended to be permanent rather than a trial.

The child had spent the first two months in Poland seeing his paternal grandparents every day and would then see his maternal grandparents, his father, and other relatives at least four times a week.

He had Polish citizenship and was registered with a GP. He was integrating and was habitually resident in Poland immediately before his removal.

Protective measures would be needed to mitigate risk of abuse from the father.

The court accepted several undertakings from the father, including to pay the mother a monthly sum, to not threaten, harass, or intimidate her and to have supervised contact with the younger son if that was required.

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