Maltese Wife, Turkish Husband and their 6 year old daughter lived in Turkey.
Wife told Husband she wanted to return to Malta.
Husband then blocked Wife’s access to the Child and applied to the Turkish Family Court for temporary custody of the Child.
The Turkish Court then prohibited the Child from leaving Turkey before a custody decision was made.
Wife nonetheless removed Child from Turkey to Malta without Husband’s knowledge.
Then the Turkish Court awarded temporary custody of the Child to Husband.
The Husband filed an application for return of the Child to Turkey under the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction.
The Maltese Court ruled that Turkey was the habitual residence of the Child.
Under the Hague Convention, that ruling would normally mandate return of the Child to the country of habitual residence for a custody decision to be made there.
But the Maltese Court nonetheless held that the Child should remain in Malta.
The Maltese Court based its ruling on the following:
- that the Child was removed from Turkey prior to the Turkish Court’s award of custody to the Husband, although the custody action had already started
- that it wasn’t clear that the Wife had done anything wrong under Turkish law by removing the Child from Turkey right smack in the middle of the Turkish child custody case and
- that it would cause the Child substantial psychological harm to return her to Turkey, apparently because she did not speak Turkish