Deprived of his children for 2 years

A Quebec father living in Costa Rica claims to have been deprived of justice in this Central American country, while his ex-spouse, who also lives there, has prevented him from seeing their two children for nearly two years.

Maxime (fictional first name to protect the identities of the two children) has not seen his two boys – who are minors – since July 2020. He agrees to share his story to avoid this sad fate to other relatives.

Several years ago, when both parents were still a couple, they decided to move to Costa Rica with their family and spend most of their time there.

They separated in 2017 and executed the judgment in Quebec, including ordering joint custody. They subsequently returned to live separately in Costa Rica, but the Quebec ruling was not applied, the father and his lawyer, Mr.and Justin Roberge, specializing in international family law.

This situation is explained in particular because this judgment is not recognized in Costa Rica.

In July 2020, when he was to pick up his sons for his care week, the mother refused to let them go. The father states – with supporting evidence – that the mother made several accusations in court in Costa Rica against him, but that they all became invalid.

After all, it is still impossible for him to assert his custody. After an intervention by the father of a judge in Costa Rica – when he had not seen his children for a year – the latter met the mother and the little ones.

Both children mentioned that they were not safe to see him again. The judge got them complete and signed a statement to that effect. This ruined the father’s hopes of reconnecting with his little ones in the short term.

“All of this was done without expertise, without lawyers,” laments Me Roberge, who considers this way of doing things to be more than dubious.

Procedures

The lawyer would like to re-establish short-term contacts – currently virtual – between father and children. “Until now, the mother will not know anything and is not to be talked about,” adds Mand Roberge.

Maxime is convinced that his children have been subjected to parental alienation.

Despite their disagreement, the father would never have thought that the mother could “snatch” her children from him.

“Never [j’aurais cru]. She learns the exact opposite. [dans son travail], he claims. The relationship with my sons was amazing! Children could not wish for better ”.

Since then, the man says he “survives” this heavy absence every day and comforts himself with a photo album of his sons. “I’m broken, devastated, empty of this love! Every day I have to dig deep inside myself to fall asleep and get through my days,” he falls.

A “terrible” story

The family father’s lawyer describes the story of his client as “shocking”. He specifies that the residence of the children determines the country of jurisdiction which is Costa Rica in this case. He intends to demonstrate that his client has been deprived of justice there and that the case should be dealt with here.

He questions several maneuvers in the judicial system there. So far, the file on the ice is time to gather everything needed to be heard.

The newspaper contacted the mother and her lawyer, but they declined our requests for interview.

Living with family abroad requires precautions

Going abroad with your family can be a big adventure, but it is necessary to make legal arrangements before you travel if you want to avoid heartbreaking situations like Maxime (see other text), warns a specialist lawyer.

Maxime’s story is not ordinary, but neither is it unique, says Daniel Romano, a specialist in international family law.

Without wanting to comment on the case directly, he admits that parents can be deprived of justice and deprived of recourse.

“There are situations that are quite deviant. And surprising. It happens here too, but much more often in other jurisdictions,” notes Me Romano.

The lawyer believes that international family law will pick up speed as more and more families choose to go abroad in the long term. It becomes so important to make legal arrangements before departure.

“When people choose a country where they want to go, they can also find out about the legal system, in addition to the climate and the political system,” Mr Romano argues.

Another important point is to determine the place of residence of the children, because it is this element that most often determines the country of jurisdiction.

“They must determine that the relocation is temporary and that they retain their domicile in Quebec,” the lawyer clarifies.

He points out that the legal system in other countries can be very different from that in Quebec and thus make it difficult to defend its rights.

“Here, the decisions as much as possible tend not to be to the detriment of one of the two parents,” Mr Romano explains.

Children as hostages

Unfortunately, in many of these types of cases, Me Romano notes that children are often used as bargaining chips and are exposed to parental alienation, “which is a form of defamation.”

“Any benefit a parent wants to get from playing this game would be detrimental to the child,” he insists. And regardless of the level of hatred, parents should remember that their child has only two parents. To want to deprive them of their relationship with the other deprives them of something irreplaceable and which cannot be bought, ”he concludes.

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