Many divorced parents wish to travel with their children internationally, to visit family and friends. However, parental abduction is feared by the Courts.
A recent New Westminster court decision (E033145; June 12, 2015) outlines the reasons why a parent may have their application to travel declined. That reason involves fear for parental child abduction.
BC Court denies mother permission to take her son to Iran for fear that she would not return. This is known as Parental Abduction.
The BC Court denies mother permission to take her son to Iran for fear that she would not return. This is known as Parental Abduction.mother in this case, B.E. applied to vary an order to permit travel with her eight year old son, R., to Iran for a two week period in August 2015, as well as delivery of the child’s passport and all other documents necessary for travel to and from Iran.
The application was opposed by the child’s father, S.R., who was concerned that the mother would not return to Canada with the child, following their vacation. This is known as Parental Abduction.
These parents have a 2011 judgement for joint custody and guardianship of R., with an agreement that neither would remove the child from Canada, or B.C., without written consent of the other parent. Since that time, both parents have travelled with the child on vacations to the United States, but not Iran.
The mother in this case had parents, siblings, and an extensive extended family in Tehran. They live in an affluent gated community there, which includes guards, video surveillance and concierge services.
Counsel for the child’s mother, J.A. Rose, Q.C., argued that the mother has always acted in the child’s best interest, and would continue to do so.
The Hague Convention is an International Treaty to prevent Parental Abduction. Both parties agreed that Iran is not subject to the Hague Convention. As a result, any order made in Canada could not be enforced in Iran.
In the written decisions, Justice Jenkins states that he concluded travel to Iran would not be in the child’s best interests, not only because of the lack of protection from the Hague Convention, and the Canadian travel advisory for Iran, but also because of some deceptive acts on behalf of the child’s mother:
1. Prior to the couple’s separation, in 2008, there was evidence suggesting that B.E. may have been planning to take her son to Iran, and not return him to Canada.
2. The mother listed the child’s domicile as Iran, when she obtained an Iranian passport for the child.
3. The mother had a history of making statements that she was not happy in Canada, and wished to return to Iran.
4. All of the mother’s family and close friends reside in Iran.
5. The mother had valuable assets in Iran, and is a member of the successful family business there.
6. The mother does not work in Canada.
7. The mother’s boyfriend has obtained an Iranian passport, and she has secretly travelled to Iran with him in the past.
8. The mother obtained an Iranian divorce order with incorrect and misleading statements about the couple’s circumstances. This information was submitted via a translation of Iranian court documents.
9. The mother’s credibility came into question, when it became evident that Iranian court proceedings were carried out without the father’s knowledge or involvement.
“In summary, I find upon looking at all the evidence that there is a reasonable basis beyond just a mere suspicion that the respondent may not return R. from Iran” concluded Justice Jenkins.
The mother’s application for travel was dismissed, and the father was awarded costs.
Jayne Embree, M.A.
Jayne holds a Masters in Psychology and is a highly experienced Divorce Coach and Child Specialist. She is currently working with the Administrative and Human Resources Departments of Butterfield Law.
Parental abduction feared by the courts-See article on travel permission letters