Yesterday I read an article about a Swedish woman who used to be married to a Spaniard [in Spain], they had two kids and then their marriage broke down… In 2004 a court decided that the children would live with the Swedish woman but the father had the right to see them every second weekend and on the school holidays. Both remained custoders of the children. Two years ago the Swedish woman decided to move back to Sweden with the children. Of course the father didn’t agree with this move and has been fighting to get his children back to Spain. Now the Spanish courts have decided that the children should be in the custody of the father and they should be returned to Spain.
It is a terrible situation, especially as the 9-year old son wants to stay in Sweden with his mother, and the 14-year old daugther has not seen her mother since June as she is staying with her father.
I am just thinking – why did the mother think that she could just take the children and move to Sweden?? I mean, if they had joint custody of the children – it’s quite obvious that you can’t just move without telling their father… I am aware that I probably don’t know all the details from just reading the article, but it’s an interesting case since I have been thinking about these kind of situations lately – seeing that I myself have a Spanish boyfriend and hopefully we will have children one day… probably in Spain or maybe in a 3rd country (i.e not Sweden nor Spain).
A French colleague of mine in Brussels had a similar problem with her Greek ex-husband, they both lived in Belgium – and she was practically “stuck” there with the children despite having the full custody of the children. She doesn’t want anything more than to go back to France but it is impossible as her ex-husband has the right to see his children regularly. She told me and my colleague that we should be very careful about chosing the fathers to our children, especially if they were foreigners.
I am fully aware that if O and I have children, and if that happens in Spain, and if (fingers crossed that it doesn’t happen) we end up having a divorce – I will be stuck in Spain. It’s a price you just have to assume if you fall in love with a foreigner and decide to live abroad! I am not saying that I don’t understand that the woman wanted to move back home to Sweden, but you can’t be that naive to think that you can just take the children and go wherever you want. She says in the article that she didn’t understand that the Spanish court’s decision to give the custody to her ex-husband was valid in Sweden – but hey, we live in the EU now…
What do you think, all you bloggers with foreign husbands/partners? Have you given these kind of situations any thought? I guess it’s a little like signing a pre-nuptial agreement, it’s not something very romantic but it might become your reality one day especially as so many marriages end up in divorce nowadays.