The Herald reports:
A Kiwi mum is launching a legal battle today to keep her child in New Zealand after the Australian father filed papers requesting her return.
The 25-year-old New Zealand woman arrived in New Zealand from the Gold Coast in January with her six-year-old daughter, and set up a new life in Christchurch, where her parents lived.
But last Wednesday the mother was served documents under the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, stating the father wanted their daughter returned to Australia.
Under the Hague Convention, if it is found that a child was “wrongfully” removed from a country, they must be returned to that country if the case comes to notice within a year of the “abduction”, unless there would be grave risk to the child or certain other conditions are met.
A father has the same rights as a mother to be with his child. When they split up they either have to amicably decide where the child lives, or get a court to decide. What you don’t do is just take your kid to another country or even city, without the consent of the other parent,
The mother told the Herald she did not think she had wrongfully removed her daughter and that she considered returning her would raise a grave risk to the child
What she thinks is not the test. It is what she did.
The mother was not in a relationship with the father, but had been living on and off with him throughout her daughter’s life, including up until their departure date.
So they were living together and then she just disappeared with the daughter.
They had no family support in Australia, apart from the father, and as the mother was not an Australian citizen, her access to governmental support was much less than in New Zealand.
She was seeking employment in New Zealand but for the meantime was on a benefit here.
If she had to return to Australia she would not have any housing or employment options.
“We wouldn’t have any other options.”
Again the decision on where the daughter lives has to be a joint one, or one a court arbitrates. Did she consider talking to the father and seeing if he would move to NZ?