The Maltese father of a young child this morning won custody after his Norwegian mother filed a child abduction case in court and called for the boy's return to Norway.
The father told the court that he and the mother had come to Malta when their son was only a few days old and they had intended to establish their residence here.
The court heard that in terms of the Hague Convention on child abduction no court was obliged to order the return of a child if the contesting parent had consented to the child travelling. Nor was the court obliged to return the child if this could expose the child to physical or psychological danger.
Justice Anna Felice noted that the child’s parents had met on the internet in 2008. She had travelled to Malta that year and stayed here until January 2009. On her return to Norway she discovered that she was pregnant, and the father moved to Norway to be with her.
Following the birth of the child in September 2009 the father discovered that the mother had another child from a previous marriage. That child had been removed from her care and placed in a foster home.
The second child was born suffering from withdrawals from medication the mother used to take, and the Norwegian Social Services had intervened. This led to both parents fearing that this child would be taken from them and they decided to come to Malta when the child was only a few days old.
They registered the child as a Maltese national and established a home together until their relationship ended last year. The father was awarded care and custody of the child in January 2010.
The court decided that no abduction had resulted. The evidence showed that the couple had intended to establish their residence in Malta and that Malta was the child’s habitual residence.
It also resulted that the mother suffered from mental illness and that her state of health was poor.
The court, therefore, refused the mother’s request to order the return of the child to Norway
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