The Family Court has allowed a mother to temporarily send her son to China.
Both the mother and father of the boy, ‘K’, were Chinese and living in England. They met and married in China before relocating here. This was the father’s second marriage. A year after K was born, the parents separated following an argument about the father’s previous marriage. The mother maintained that she had not been told about it until that point. They were unable to reconcile after this argument and eventually divorced.
While the father worked at a restaurant, the mother trained to become a teacher. As part of this process, she was required to work a set number of days as a teaching assistant. These days took her away from home for long periods of time because there were few available placements which took the fact that her first language was Mandarin into account.
For a while, she looked after K during the weekends and the father did so during the week. However this was not possible once the father moved into the staff quarters of the restaurant. The solution they came to was that the maternal grandmother would take care of K during the week instead but this led to another problem. The grandmother’s visa allowing her to stay in the UK was set to expire in February.
The mother then sought permission to send K to China to live with his maternal grandparents. This would only be a temporary arrangement with the boy returning to England in August. Even with her assurance that the move would not be a permanent one, the father objected. He was concerned because China is not a signatory to the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. As a result, if the mother’s family decided to keep K in China there would be very little he could do to prevent them. He asked His Honour Judge Moradifar to dismiss the application.
The judge noted that the maternal grandmother had offered £5,000 to be held by the mother’s solicitors during K’s stay in China. Should the father need to apply to the Chinese courts in that time, this money would be made available to him to do so.
Judge Moradifar ruled that the mother’s application would be granted. He ordered that K travel on his British passport and a visa, rather than with “travel documents” issued by the Chinese Consulate. The child “must be returned back to England on or before 31 August 2017” and “must have reasonable telephone [Skype] contact with his father” while in China, the judge declared. He also ordered that the £5,000 be made available by the mother’s family as security against K being kept in China later than the agreed upon date.
Read Re K (Minor : Temporary Removal from Jurisdiction) in full here.