Saturday, December 29, 2007
A court has ordered that a three-year-old girl be returned to Malta after ruling that her foreign mother had acted illegally when she took her abroad without informing the Maltese father.
The father had filed an application in the Family Court explaining that over the past four years he had a relationship with a foreign woman and they had a daughter. His daughter was born in Malta and even attended a play school here. Recently, the relationship deteriorated and he left home to live on his boat.
He would go to see his daughter everyday but on October 20 he did not find the girl and her mother at home, he said. After filing a police report he learn that the mother had left the island with his daughter. When he contacted the mother, she told him he would not see his child again if he did not pay her Lm300 a month, the fatherclaimed. Since then he called his daughter everyday on a mobile phone but still did not know where she was.
The mother took his daughter away from Malta without informing him and that, he argued, was illegal according to the Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction and the Child Abduction and Custody Act, among others.
He called on the court to declare that the mother had acted illegally, declare Malta as the child's habitual country of residence, grant him exclusive custody over the child and take measures to ensure the child was returned to Malta.
After hearing the case, Mr Justice Joseph Azzopardi ruled that it was clear that the mother took the minor out of Malta without the father's permission and had acted illegally. He decided in favour of the father and agreed to all his requests.
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