Expatica news

Tug-of-love mother wins

21 April 2004

HUESCA – A Spanish court ruled that an 11-year-old boy sought by his American father is to remain in Spain under his mother’s custody despite US legal rulings to the contrary, it was reported Wednesday.

The court ruling to which EFE had access overturns an earlier decision by the same family court ordering that the boy be turned over to his father.

The present decision calls for “the immediate return of Brian to his mother without restrictions”.

The ruling was based on a psychological evaluation of the child and the boy’s own testimony to the court indicating his desire to remain with his mother and not live with his father in the United States.

Brian had been in foster care since 5 April in a government-run home in the Spanish region of Aragon by order of the court.

His mother, Sonia Escudero, told EFE that she was “very excited” about the ruling, which made Brian “jump for joy” when she told him about it by telephone.

Escudero had appeared in court in Spain April 6 to answer to parental abduction charges 10 years after she fled her marriage in the United States bringing her toddler son with her. Those charges were dismissed.

Executing a court order backing up the father’s efforts to recover the boy, Interpol agents seized the 10-year-old at a religious school in this northern Spanish city.

Escudero had been in hiding for several years, living between the cities of Zaragoza and Huesca, where she travelled from the United States with her 18-month-old son following her separation from the boy’s father, a member of the US military that she met in Spain.

As part of her testimony, the woman furnished the court with psychological reports on the child and documents she said back up her allegations of abuse at her husband’s hands.

When she fled the United States, she failed to appear in a California court to answer to the divorce and custody suits filed by her husband, who was then granted sole custody of the child.

She said she was “desperate”, as several Spanish courts had ordered the boy returned to his father.

Her husband worked out his request for the boy’s repatriation through the U.S. Embassy in Spain, in keeping with the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction.

[Copyright EFE with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news