Hague Convention case withdrawn after suicide attempt

Family Law|November 11th 2015

A Pakistani father has withdrawn his application for his daughter’s return following a suicide attempt by the child’s mother.

Although the parents did not marry, the family lived together for a number of years in Granada, a city in the south of Spain. Following the breakdown of the parents’ relationship, the mother would visit her family in her home country of Poland every June, along with the daughter. Last year, instead of returning to Spain, the mother and daughter moved to Manchester.

By June 2015, the father had not seen his daughter for a year. He launched legal proceedings under the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. He applied for his daughter to be returned to him in Spain.

However, there was a “very grave development” in the case following the father’s application. The mother suffered “a very serious decline in [her] mental health and wellbeing” as a result of the legal proceedings.

This culminated on 25 October, when the mother was admitted to hospital after a suicide attempt. One consulting psychiatrist claimed that the ongoing legal battle was “likely to result in ongoing distress … and a worse long-term prognosis” for the mother’s mental health.

In what Mr Justice Holman described as “a brave and wise decision”, the father decided to withdraw his application. During the proceedings, an interim order was made which dictated that the father should have contact with his daughter twice a week via Skype. After withdrawing his application, the father requested that the order continue.

The judge granted the father’s request and made the order permanent. He concluded his judgment with a hope that “all members of this family can move forward and begin to repair the damage”.

To read KS v MK, click here.

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