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Thread: Child's choice in custody

  1. #1

    Question Child's choice in custody

    I was watching the news about those 4 girls being made to go back to Italy with their father....



    I always thought that once a child reached a certain age they could decide which parent they wanted to live with. Is this wrong? I just remembered when I was little my friend at school was counting down till she was 12 so she could live with her mum.

    I thought the older girls in this case could have chosen to live with their mum if they were 15?

    Hope someone can explain it to me

  2. #2

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    The girls in the case you are speaking of were taken from Italy by their mother without the permission of their father. He applied to the courts in Italy to have a custody hearing held there. The court agreed. The girls have been returned to Italy for their custody arrangements to be determined. This has been done under The Hague Convention, to which Australa is a signatory.

    Hope this helps.

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    This article explains it better than I have

    http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/quee....html#haguenew

  4. #4

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    You've got to love the media!!

    Thanks that explains it great. So in other words if the mum hadn't done a runner with them some of the elder girls could have voiced they wanted to stay/go with the mum?

  5. #5

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    I couldn't say because the Italian family court system may be different to Australia's.

    But even in Australia a child (over 12) can't decide who thy want to live with and it automatically happens. Their wishes are taken into consideration but it is still up to the Court to determine what is in their best interests.

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    I think that it is really important to remember a couple of thing in this particular case.
    1. What this woman did was totally illegal! She told the father that she was taking the kids on a holiday and didn't return them.

    2.she actually has permanent custody of the kids in Italy. So it's not like she doesn't see them.

    3 there is nothing stopping her from moving back there to be with them. The youngest is 9? So what, another 9 years max?

    4. If the father had done this, could you imagine the outcry?

    5. All that the court has ruled is that she goes back to Italy to have the case heard there.

    I think this has blown out of all proportion and for the sale of the kids, I think the mother has handled this really badly.

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    I agree. I think this mother has used the Australian media to turn these kids against their father. Ultimately, she has kidnapped these children and prevented their father from seeing them or even knowing where they were for over two years! There is nothing stopping her from returning to Italy to be with her children but her pride. The two reasons she gave the court here were that she couldn't afford to return to Italy and that she was worried that if she went back she would be prosecuted for kidnapping. The judge here made her ex husband sign papers saying he would not prosecute her and he was also made to send her $8000 so that she could return with the children. She chose not to. Even witnessing how distressed her daughters were, she chose not to.

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    Regardless of the Mothers actions, the girls reactions to being taken back say so much to me.

    We all would have seen the footage.. It was heartbreaking and wrong on so many levels.

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    I find it hard to express my opinion on this issue/situation. I'm sure I would be very distressed as a mother in this situation but I would hope I could behave calmly so as not to make it more emotional for my children. The scenes of their removal were awful but I can't help feeling the mum fueled the girls hysteria and if she had been able to behave in a more calm and reassuring manner the girls would have been less distressed too iykwim

    How awful for their father to have to see that as well

    I hope the mother now gets a fair hearing in the Italian family courts.

    ETA: sorry, realised my post doesn't actually address/answer the OP

  10. #10

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    I was actually quite cross watching the news yesterday with her yelling out "I love you" to the kids at the airport and wailing. I know it sounds harsh but...

    • she took the kids from their home, their father, family and friends two years ago
    • she lied to both her children and their father
    • if it was the reverse the father would have been accused of all manner of things
    • there are three sides to every story - his, hers and the truth


    All she succeeded in doing by wailing at the girls at the airport was to upset them more and make them more confused oh, and try to rally support from the media.

    She should have told the girls that she would come back with them if that was the only way she could be with them. She should have told them that she was in the wrong, that she made a mistake. She should have told them to be strong.

    When your kids are hurting you don't turn it into something about you. You show them support. You empower them so the can move on. You provide a sounding board so they can yell, cry and scream. You help them pick themselves up. What you don't do is manipulate them into feeling guilt, bewilderment, anger, hurt or self pity.

    The girls have had two years living in another country and were essentially isolated from the rest of their family. It's not hard to give kids new memories and turn their way of thinking. People say oh, they've lived here for two years with their mother, don't send them back - imagine living for two years without your kids.


    ....my piece said ... I'll get back into my box now...

    No, children cannot "choose" who they want to live with. (Depending on which state they live in) the child has to attend a private hearing with a judge and tell them why they want to live with the other parent. The judge then takes that into consideration when determining who the child will live with.
    Last edited by Cass72; October 5th, 2012 at 08:43 AM. Reason: Forgot to answer the question ... too busy riding my high-horse!

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    FWIW it is nearly impossible for any of us to know exactly what the family situation is here. As upset as we can be about it what this woman did, we don't and can't know whether there is any truth to her claims that there was domestic violence involved. Sometimes the courts get it wrong. We should not make the mistake of believing that just because the outcome here has been legal that it is necessarily best.

    Just sayin.
    Last edited by AnyDream; October 5th, 2012 at 09:14 AM.

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    I agree that it is hard to know what is the truth in this matter. But what struck me is that the mother, while completely distraught obviously, did not seem to be trying to help or calm her girls. It was quite shocked by her hysterics in front of her children and I agree that she was inflaming the situation, rather than comforting them. It is hard to know how I would act in such a situation, but I would hope that I could hold it together until the children had left calmly. From her behaviour, as portrayed by the media, I think there is an element of mental illness at play here too - possibly some kind of personality disorder.

    While I had been quite sympathetic to her plight, seeing the most recent footage has turned my opinion.

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    Either that, or she's out of her mind over losing her children, given that she's already lost a child (their 3rd daughter died) she might have a stronger reaction than someone who hasn't had to deal with that sort of loss.

    I'm not saying I agree with her actions but I'm not comfortable with the outpouring of negative judgement based on a couple of minutes of news footage either. It is one of those situations where someone is going to suffer no matter what the outcome. It should provoke compassion, not condemnation.

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    My head and my heart have two quite different views on this.

    My head is with Cass72.

    But my heart breaks at the reaction of those girls. Whether it is a situation that their mum created by taking them away, they are clearly very distressed at the thought of going back to Italy. I would like to think that I would be strong in this situation and do the right thing, but I'm not 100% sure I could.

    Anyway, I hope they all find some peace with the situation soon.

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    I agree that effectively kidnapping the kids is so very wrong, but my memory is that both she and the girls (maybe not all of the - can't remember too clearly) made allegations of abuse against the father . If that's the case and I were in that situation, there is not a court, law or police officer on the planet that would stop me from doing exactly the same thing as she did. I would be seeing this as another hurdle and would be off planning how I could do it again, only do it better next time.

    Having said that, I agree with Bloom that the mother could have done so much more for her children's sake. I get that she was distraught herself, but she's a mother. Put your kids first. As for them being so distressed at going back, yes they were but I am also wary of how much coaching has potentially been going on. It also disturbs me that the mother says she has no intention of returning to Italy at this point.

    I'm very divided on this. If the allegations made are true, then I feel terribly sorry for the girls and their mother. A truly awful situation to be returned to. If it is as I suspect though, then I feel so very sorry for their father and his family. I also feel sorry for the girls because I feel there is a huge level of manipulation going on. What's hard is that it may be entirely impossible for anyone outside of the mother, father and four kids to know what the truth is, so could be very difficult for the right decision to ultimately be made.

  16. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by LuluHB View Post
    but my memory is that both she and the girls (maybe not all of the - can't remember too clearly) made allegations of abuse against the father . If that's the case and I were in that situation, there is not a court, law or police officer on the planet that would stop me from doing exactly the same thing as she did. I would be seeing this as another hurdle and would be off planning how I could do it again, only do it better next time.
    Me too. i didn't see the footage, but i would also be telling my kids i love them, and will keep fighting for them, to the last minute.

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