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Protecting children's rights

“All happy families resemble one another, each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way”, - Leo Tolstoy

After 20 years of law practice, I realized that many unhappy families are similar too.

Many beautiful love stories breaking up on the inaccessible cliffs of justice. The fact that only some of these stories are made public, it does not detract from being a huge problem, the relevance of which increases with each passing day.

There are some stories from my own law practice. All names have been changed, an accidental is coincidence. My goal as an attorney is to find the best resolution for conflict situation.

The civil case between the Plaintiff-father (his name keeps in secret) and Defendant-mother (her name keeps in secret) has been considered by district court on January 2017.

The case was open by father against mother according the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. The Convention was concluded 25 October 1980. The Convention was drafted to ensure the prompt return of children who have been abducted from their country of habitual residence or wrongfully retained in a contracting state not their country of habitual residence.

Both courts, district and appellate court, has been agree with the father’s claim and made decision in his favor.

This case was heard without my participation, and now, having entered the process, I see that the court orders are totally wrong and would be subject to cancellation. I am going to work over this case in Cassation procedure.

I fully reviewed the case and I can see that judges of both courts avoided to carefully study important circumstances of the case, and Russian orders based on the court orders were lodged with illegal judgments of the High court of Justice, Family Division, London, UK, because the British case against mother has been considered secretly, without notification of mother, only between judge and attorney for Plaintiff, based of affidavit of his Russian attorney who unsuccessfully tried to serve Defendant without special knowledge about this procedure. As result, nobody ever informed Plaintiff about open case in the United Kingdom.

The malpractice of Russian attorney for father has terrible consequences for mother. The blatant lawlessness committed by a British judge led to a number of consequences that must now be eliminated.

The Hague Convention of 1980 provides that the judicial authority does not prescribe the return of the child in the few separate reasons:

1st and 2nd reasons:

The person having the care of the person of the child was not actually exercising the custody rights at the time of removal or retention, or had consented to or subsequently acquiesced in the removal or retention (Article 13, part 1, paragraph A, of the Hague Convention, 1980).

- It was established that Father gave his written consent for trip to Russia for Mother with child on August 2016. The written consent for trip meets to requirement of Art. 13 part 1, paragraph "A" of the Hague Convention of 1980.

- During conflict between parties which took place, according to email-conversation between parties, on August 21-25, 2016, the Father forbade his wife and daughter to return to the marital house. He gave to Mother written advice to go away, take daughter from school, and let his daughter know that she never again could not see daddy. He said if she comes back, he will call to police and put her to jail. The mother had no problem to come back to the marital house and continue family life, but father’s own free choice to kick her out together with daughter. The written consent to retention answers art. 13 part 1, paragraph "A" of the Hague Convention of 1980.

3rd reason:

There is a grave risk that his or her return would expose the child to physical or psychological harm or otherwise place the child in an intolerable situation (Article 13, part 1, paragraph B of the Hague Convention, 1980).

Finally, the Father said that he is going to take trip over the world, and when money runs out, he is going to do suicide. Therefore, the father cannot provide security for child. He doesn’t care about child’s life in future if he will die. There is a grave risk that return of daughter would expose the child to psychological harm and otherwise place the child in an intolerable situation, which meets Article 13, part 1, paragraph B of the Hague Convention, 1980.

4th reason:

The return of the child under the provisions of Article 12 may be refused if this would not be permitted by the fundamental principles of the requested State relating to the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms (Article 20 of the 1980 Hague Convention).

The return of the child may be refused if this would not be permitted by the fundamental principles of the requested State relating to the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms.

The court of first instance erroneously took into consideration the court orders, the judgments by the UK court, which were considered without the Mother’s appearance and knowledge.

The Court in UK violated requirements Hague Convention of 15 November 1965 on the Service Abroad of Judicial and Extrajudicial Documents in Civil or Commercial Matters.

In accordance with Art. 15 of the 1965 Convention, the judge may give judgment only if all the following conditions are fulfilled (1) the document was transmitted by one of the methods provided for in this Convention, (2) a period of time of not less than six months has elapsed since the date of the transmission of the document; (3) no certificate of any kind has been received, even though every reasonable effort has been made to obtain it through the competent authorities of the State addressed.

Difficulties which may arise in connection with the transmission of judicial documents for service shall be settled through diplomatic channels (Article 14 of the 1965 Convention).

Art. 16 of the 1965 Convention it is established that when a writ of summons or an equivalent document had to be transmitted abroad for the purpose of service, and a judgment has been entered against a defendant who has not appeared, the judge shall have the power to relieve the defendant from the effects of the expiration of the time for appeal from the judgment.

Consequently, the orders which was made by the British court clearly contradict the public order of the Russian Federation and international law in general (in particular, they come into gross contradiction with the Hague Convention of 1965), since the party against which the order was taken was deprived of the opportunity to know about the hearing, to appear to the court, and to defense her own rights and rights of her daughter.

The final order was made based of illegal affidavit of Russian attorney of father, who never ever served mother. Her malpractice cannot consider by any court as proper service due to special rules for process service.

I successfully made over 300 personal services for foreign defendants and I know that proper service is most important part in any court case. I believe that UK order which was made according of non-service of defendant must be vacated no matter what.

The names of the characters in this story are classified in accordance with the law.

The citizen of Spain kicked his girlfriend out from his house without joint child on the Christmas Eve. I commented this situation for TV channel №5 of St.Petersburg.

I am looking for an attorney in St. Petersburg. I received your name in the Chamber of Advocates of St. Petersburg. It is about a child abduction and I need to do a "child return request" in the context of the Hague Convention. I need to know four things: if you know how to do that; if you want do that; how much this will cost to me; when you can do that?

Here is a short abstract of the story. My daughter, 2 years old now, is born in New York at the end of 2014. She have been abducted in New York and moved to Russia by her mother. I am American and live in New York, the mother is Russian. I met her in 2012, she come in United States in 2014 and went back to Russia in February 2016. We had judgment in the United States and I have the custody. We tried many times to get amicable agreement with the mother but it does not work. I have an attorney in New York, but I contacted you personally because we need go fast.

My husband has double citizenship; I have Russian citizenship and permanent residence based on marriage. He is going to divorce me in America and probably ask for full child custody. Can I object it in Russian court after divorce in America is final? If child is resided in Russia how can I protect him from kidnapping? Thank you.

I am British and married to a Russian, we have been married just over 3 years. Unfortunately we are separated since August this year. My wife resides in Moscow with our son aged 2 Years and 3 months. I am not allowed to have unsupervised access to him when I visit Moscow every month. I notice you represent people from the USA; do you also cover the UK? The action and assistance I require would be in Russia.

I need urgent representation in Moscow regarding divorce, I have today received official court documentation that my wife has applied for a divorce, apparently they have already had a hearing, I never knew anything about it and now doesn't give me much time. We have been married for just over one year and have a 27 month old son. Can you help? If not can you provide any advice please? I am desperate father and Husband.

I have the following situation: I married to a Spaniard for 9 years; our son is 6 years old. Child is citizen of Spain and Russia. Currently my son and I are in Russia. I registered my child at my permanent residence in the apartment of my parents. Before our departure my husband gave me authorization to register our child in Russia. Child is in the 1st grade in school.

I do not want to return to Spain due to cruel treatment of my husband (assault, abuse), sudden outbreaks of aggression towards me and the child. He threatened me to take child away from me and I can get out to Russia. Please advise me what I should do if I will not return to Spain. Husband threatened to fill a police report on me. Can they take away a child from me based on the Hague Convention of Child Abduction? What penalty can be imposed on me? Can I travel abroad? Where is better to file for divorce? Can you take my case? Please help me.

I am a U.S. Citizen. Two years ago my wife illegally took our children from United States to Russia. Currently they live in St. Petersburg where Court Hearing regarding custody of the children scheduled for the end of February. I am not able to appear for the Hearing; therefore I need legal representative of my rights in court in Russia.

Do you have an experience in such matters? How long may take the consideration of this case? What documents do you need to start the process?

We are citizens of Russia, residing in Finland, we have a daughter. Soon after our daughter was born husband became aggressive to me. After another severe beating I went to the hospital, police and social programs. Social Services put me in shelter for women – Domestic Violence Victims. In a mean time I found the lawyer who filled for divorce and custody of my daughter. However, court decided to give physical custody to the father. Due the fact that I am Russian and I might take child to the Russia, by the court decision I have visitation under supervision of social workers at the special place where children meet with their parents - alcoholics, drug addicts, rapists. But first before our meetings with the child court decided to take away the child's passport. Please help me. I do not know what else I can do.

Child was born and lived in Russia, his father never saw him. I came back to Russia, being pregnant, after our fight, which I recorded to my iPhone. It happened when I was on 20th week of pregnancy, he screamed and yelled at me, he said that I am insane and my child would be the same like me, “ Get out to Russia, get the ticket right now”, he yelled at me while banging on the table with a gun. I told him to put the gun away. Since the birth of my child we live in Russia, but his father threatens me to take the child to the United States. Do I have a reason for concern? Can I request a child support from him?

My daughter is not yet two years old. She was born in Canada and in her Birth Certificate recorded name of her father – citizen of Canada. I am citizen of Russia Federation. I would like to get Russian citizenship for my daughter but I am not able to do it without consent of her father. I never was married with her father and we never resided together. We knew each other for few weeks before I got pregnant. After I gave birth atmosphere in our house became increasingly difficult and hostile. I would like to move to Russia with my daughter, but no hope to get authorization from Canadian Court to move. Father of my daughter does not allowing me to move to Russia with the child. What can I do?

Hi, my wife and I were married in United States, and then lived in Japan. I moved from United States, and my wife had lived in Japan for the previous 10 years. My wife abducted our baby to her abusive mother’s home in south Russia. Do I need to go to Russia? File and register our marriage in Russia? And start divorce court on Russia? No help from police lawyer or embassy so far, just alone in Japan getting kicked of apartment in wife's name and not sure to stay in Japan or hoot Russia.

I am a UK citizen and have been divorced from a Russian/UK dual national since August 2007. We have been separated since June 2006. We have two young children from the marriage. They are UK passport holders and also appear on their mother’s Russian passport. The mother contravened the Hague Convention by moving to Russia to live in September 2006, without my written permission. Please advise what I can do? Thank you for your time.

I'm currently waiting for the court case between my ex-wife and I for which you will be representing me in May. She's Russian and I’m British Cypriot. She's abducted our three years old daughter and now living in St. Petersburg. I've applied to the central authority in Cyprus for the return of my daughter under the Hague convention for parental child abduction. Both Cyprus and Russian Federation are signatories to this agreement, but are the chances of getting the court in Russia to return the child any good at all?

We were all living together at my house in the US at end of year 2012. The last time I saw my son was on 13 January, 2013. On or about that date, my ex-wife and her mother took son to Russia and never returned. When I found her, and called her, she refused to come back to the US. I am not sure of the exact info you have on my ex-wife. I have attached to this email information on address, phone numbers, and email and some additional info that might be helpful in contacting/locating my son. If you have any questions, please contact me. Thank you again for your assistance in this very important matter. Please confirm receipt of this email and attachment.

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