A Quebec father who lives in Costa Rica claims he has been denied justice in this Central American country, while his ex-wife who also lives there has prevented him from seeing their two children for nearly two years.
Maxim (the fictitious first name in order to protect the identity of the two children) has not seen his two sons – both minors – since July 2020. He agrees to share his story, in order to avoid the sad fate of other relatives.
Several years ago, when both parents were still a couple, they decided to move to Costa Rica with their family and spend most of their time there.
They separated in 2017 and enforced the ruling in Quebec, including a joint custody order. They then returned to live separately in Costa Rica, but the judgment in Quebec was not enforced, the father and his lawyer identified Mr.And Justin Roberge, specialist in international family law.
This situation was explained in particular because this provision is not recognized in Costa Rica.
In July 2020, when he had to pick up his sons for his week of care, the mother refused to let them go. The father notes – with corroborating evidence – that the mother made several allegations against him in a Costa Rica court, but all of them were invalid.
Despite everything, it is still impossible for him to assert his custody rights. After a father intervened with a judge in Costa Rica – when he had not seen his children for a year – the latter met the mother and the young ones.
Both children reported their discomfort seeing him again. The judge ordered it to be completed and to sign a statement to that effect. This dashed the father’s hopes of reconnecting with his young children in the short term.
“It was all done without experience, without lawyers,” laments Lee Roberg, who considers this way of doing things more than questionable.
The lawyer would like to re-establish short-term contacts – hypothetical for the time being – between the father and the children. M adds: “So far, the mother doesn’t want to know anything and she’s not talkable.”And Roberg.
Maxim is convinced that his children have been alienated by one of the parents.
Despite their differences, the father would not have believed that a mother could “snatch” her children from him.
” Start [j’aurais cru]. She knows just the opposite. [dans son travail], he argues. The relationship with my sons was great! Children could not wish for better.”
Since then, the man says that he “survives” this heavy absence every day and comforts himself with a photo album of his sons. “I am devastated, wrecked, and devoid of this love! Every day, I must dig deep within me to sleep and make my days,” he drops.
A lawyer for the father of the family described his client’s story as “horrific”. It specifies that it is the children’s place of residence that determines the country of jurisdiction, which in this case is Costa Rica. He intends to prove that his client has been denied justice there and that the case must be heard here.
He questions many of the maneuvers of the judicial system there. At the moment, the file is on ice at the time of collecting everything necessary to hear it.
Newspaper They called the mother and her lawyer, but they declined interview requests.
Living with family abroad requires precautions
Going to live abroad with your family can be a wonderful adventure, but it is essential to make legal arrangements before leaving, if you want to avoid heartbreaking situations like Maxime’s (see other text), a professional lawyer warns.
Maxim’s story is not uncommon, but it is also not unique, says Daniel Romano, a specialist in international family law.
Without wanting to comment directly on the case, he admitted that parents could be denied justice and denied recourse.
“There are totally perverted situations. Surprisingly. It happens here too, but more often in other jurisdictions,” notes Me Romano.
The lawyer believes that international family law will gain momentum, as more and more families choose to travel abroad in the long term. Hence it becomes important to make legal arrangements before departure.
“When people choose a country they want to go to, they can also learn about the legal system, as well as the climate and political system,” says Mr. Romano.
Another important point is determining the place of residence of children, since it is this element that most often determines the country of the jurisdiction.
“They must decide that this move is temporary and that they keep their domicile in Quebec,” the attorney outlines.
He points out that the justice system in other countries can be very different from that of Quebec, which makes it difficult to defend one’s rights.
“Here, decisions tend as much as possible not to harm a parent,” explains Mr. Romano.
Unfortunately, in many of these types of situations, Me Romano notes, children are often used as bargaining chips and subjected to parental alienation, “a form of defamation.”
He insists that “any benefit the parent wants to gain from playing this game will be harmful to the child.” Regardless of the level of hatred, parents should remember that their child has only two parents. He concludes that the desire to deprive them of their relationship to the other deprives them of something that cannot be replaced and cannot be bought.