A Mexican mother’s application for the return of her child under the Hague Convention on Child Abduction has been dismissed in a recent Family division hearing at the High Court.
The case, referred to as Hunt v Hunt, concerned an English father and a Mexican mother. They lived together in the UK and had a child. Later the mother and child travelled to Mexico with the child but did not return to the UK. The father began proceedings under the Hague Convention and their child was made a ward of court. However, the mother did not cooperate with the proceedings.
Eventually the mother and father reached an agreement that their son should live in Mexico but have ‘staying contact with’ (make regular visits to) the father. Following a visit, the father failed to return the child to Mexico. The mother then began her own proceeding under the Hague Convention, claiming that the child’s ‘habitual residence’ (home) was in Mexico by that point.
The court dismissed her application for return of the child to Mexico as the family had lived in the UK prior to the mother’s decision to go to Mexico. The child had not lived in the Central America for long enough to establish a new ‘habitual place of residence’ from a legal point of view. The mother had also not paid sufficient attention to the father’s Hague Convention proceedings or the decision to make the child a ward of court.