12 Year Old UK Girl in Pakistan: Abductee or Refugee?

A twelve year old girl has left her mother’s home in Scotland and is now living in her father’s home in Pakistan, in violation of a previous UK court order awarding custody of the child to her mother.

Simultaneously, the name that the child goes by has changed from Molly Campbell to Misbah Iram Ahmed Rana.

A couple of weeks ago, the media reported that the girl had been abducted by her father, possibly to be forced into an arranged marriage with an adult stranger.

But now, a Pakistani court has ignored the UK custody order and awarded the father temporary custody of the girl at a hearing in Pakistan that the girl’s mother did not attend.

Now the official word is that “[s]he said her mother’s home had become a ‘living hell’ and her father’s Islamic culture in Pakistan suited her more.”

The girl is reportedly under 24 hour surveillance to protect her from being snatched back to the UK.

Pakistan is not a party to the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, but there reportedly is a similar pact between Pakistan and the UK.

The child’s Pakistani attorney reported that his strategy will be to ” challenge the judicial protocol because it allows British wives of Pakistani men to keep children after dissolution of a marriage”.

Six of the attorney’s previous cases honoring the pact between Pakistan and the UK reportedly resulted in children being returned to the UK for custody decisions to be entered there. Prompting the change in strategy.

Read more in the articles below:

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Costly Mistakes Common in Divorce Settlements

WomansDivorce.com shares the expertise of financial planners and analysts in an article titled Divorce and Your Finances – The 7 Most Costly Mistakes.

The article serves as a good reminder of some of the more subtle pitfalls to watch out for in negotiating settlements, such as:

  • Mistake #1: Not Knowing the Liquidity of Assets
  • Mistake #2: Failure to Consider the Impact of Taxes
    1. Capital gains
    2. Income taxes
  • Mistake #3: Not Understanding the Rules of Retirement Accounts
  • Mistake #4: Overlooking Debt and Credit Rating Issues
  • Mistake #5: Not Maintaining Control Over Insurance Policies
  • Mistake #6: Failure to Budget
  • Mistake #7: Failure to Identify Hidden Assets

    1. Tax returns
    2. Business owner tactics
    3. Checking account statements
    4. Savings accounts statements
    5. Brokerage statements
    6. Expense accounts
    7. Children’s bank accounts
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Child Protective Services: Afraid to Protect?

In Utah, authorities reportedly left a malnourished child in the “care” of the mother’s boyfriend – while her mother was stationed out of state in the armed forces.

The five year old girl reportedly weighed only 12 or 13 pounds.

The girl was later removed from the mother’s boyfriend’s home, but only after her grandfather sought a protective order. Then the boyfriend was arrested.

Authorities did not act due to fear of civil liability.

Recent Utah legislation reportedly makes it riskier to remove a child from a parent or legal guardian.

Unfortunately, the legislation appears to have had the unintended effect of paralyzing child protective services from protecting children.

Read more in this Utah Deseret News article: Child welfare can be full of land mines.

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Hague Convention Return Application Denied By Malta

A Malta Court has rejected a Hague Convention application by an English resident for return of a 12 year old boy to the mother who had been awarded custody of him by an English court several years earlier.

The Court ruled that the boy would be placed at grave risk of physical and psychological harm if he returned, because his older brother had been in some scrapes with the law while living with his mother in England. The boy also reported that he had observed drug use in his mother’s home.

The boy’s father had reportedly suffered a nervous breakdown when he lived in the UK, and afterward abandoned his family to return to Malta.

Nonetheless, the two older children allegedly moved back with their father in Malta when they turned 15, under circumstances which were not reported.

The boy allegedly decided to stay in Malta while on vacation with his father and siblings, because “it’s not safe … I don’t want to end up in crime like my brother”. It was not reported whether the Malta Court considered whether the boy had been manipulated or coached.

This case demonstrates how differently the Hague Convention is interpreted and applied by different countries. Many countries would have returned the boy to the custody review and supervision of the country whose courts had already validly exercised jurisdiction over him.

Read more in this Times of Malta article: Boy, 12, finds Gozo a refuge from crime.

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Reverse Piercing the Corporate Veil to Enforce Evaded Child Support

A New York judge has reportedly ordered that a Florida man be thrown in jail for six months for non-payment of $32,000 in child support arrearages.

The man allegedly has a history of skipping hearings at will, bouncing support checks, and using his current wife and a corporation to hide his earnings and assets. And he was reportedly previously convicted of securities fraud.

The NY judgment relies on reverse piercing the corporate veil: “[R]everse piercing … makes the corporation liable for the personal debt of the shareholders” where the shareholders have “formed or used the corporation to secrete assets and thereby avoid pre-existing personal liability”.

Now that the judgment is entered in NY, the ultimate question is: will Florida law enforcement authorities arrest and extradite the man so that the NY judgment can be executed and enforced?

Read more in this Law.com article: Man Ordered to Jail Over Failure to Make Child Support Payments.

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IL: Gag Orders in Ordinary Family Court Child Custody Cases?

Ten years ago …

A Mother had custody sole custody of her daughter.

The Mother and child moved to Illinois.

The Father followed.

Then, the Father got sole custody of the child.

Then the Mother founded an organization to lobby for reform of Illinois’ family courts, which she perceived as biased.

Then, the Mother’s visitation was terminated. Absolutely. Completely.

Five years of absolutely-no-contact later

The Illinois Court issued a gag order prohibiting the parties and other participants from discussing the case – or even the child’s name – with the media.

The Illinois Court reportedly went on to threaten the Mother with jail for contempt – after the Mother suggested that she wished to consult an attorney regarding her constitutional right to free speech.

A First Amendment attorney practicing in Illinois reportedly questioned the validity of the gag order and the sealing of the case.

Meanwhile, eleven years of child custody litigation go on. And a child is quietly denied any access to her mother.

For reasons, if any, not reported. That might violate the gag order.

Read more in this Lake County News-Sun article: ‘SHUT UP!’ She can’t discuss custody case with any third person, including this newspaper.

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Del: Free Paternity Tests As Device to Encourage Child Support Payments

Another tactic to encourage payment of child support is free paternity testing, and it’s being offered by the state of Delaware, in conjunction with a private vendor, during national child support month.

The free tests are available only to alleged fathers against whom a child support case is already pending.

State officials hope this will encourage fathers to connect with their children and, therefore, feel more positively about contributing to their children’s support.

Read more in this Wilmington News Journal article: Del. offers free paternity tests in Sept. – Program aimed to get dads to acknowledge kids coincides with Child Support Month.

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Religion-Based Prenups Favored By American Muslim Women

Muslims call it a marriage contract. And they are gaining popularity among American Muslims.

Americans of all faiths call similar documents prenups. And, as previously posted, they too are gaining popularity among Americans generally.

The Muslim marriage contracts in use in America today are more likely to tread into non-financial matters, the enforceability of which may remain untested in American courts – or may previously have been rejected by American courts – when outside the context of Muslim marriage contracts.

But the law may be evolving, at least in this context, according to this Lowell [MA] Sun article: Marriage contract a tool for Muslim women’s rights.

An organization of Muslim women lawyers is at work developing a model marriage contract for use among Muslim Americans.

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Non-Payment of Child Support: Carrot Vs. Stick in Ohio

The state of Ohio bears the dubious distinction of child support arrearages of nearly $5 billion.

Ohio prisons confine over 600 felons convicted of nonsupport of children.

Over 200,000 Ohioans have had their driver’s licenses suspended for nonpayment of support.

What will Ohio dish out next?

In Columbus, amnesty … What’s more, it seems to be working better than punishment.

Parents who make a payment and agree to a repayment plan are regaining their driving privileges and making a much bigger dent in the statewide arrearages.

The pilot program is now being tested in other metropolitan areas throughout the state.

Read more in this [Cleveland] Plain Dealer article: Deadbeat parents offered amnesty – Cuyahoga County deals for payments.

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