Abduction From Israel

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If you are registered as the co-owner of rights in the marital home, you can offer these are a financial guarantee. Such a guarantee could be in the form of a irrevocable power of attorney allowing for the transfer of your rights in the property should you fail to return the children, in accordance with a court decision. The prevention of exit orders on the children could be lifted upon its deposit in the court safe, and reinstated upon their return, following the return of the guarantee. This way you would not have to provide cash, or pay bank fees. If the other side is in agreement, a joint application can be made to court, on the basis of this mechanism, for the lifting of the exit orders to allow the visit, If the other side is not in agreement, an application can still be made, and the parent wishing to travel can suggest the mechanism as a form of guarantee, should the court condition the visit upon guarantees. On a general note, where the parent needing to find a guarantee has no rights in real estate him/herself, but his/her family own rights in property in Israel, it may be possible for these to be used as a guarantee in such a situation. The mechanism of using property rights in Israel to guarantee the return of minors from a short visit abroad was agreed upon by parents, and approved in principle by Kfar Saba court in December 2005, in connection with a client at this practice, a father, who had filed for custody and relocation of his children and wished to take them on a visit to his family abroad. The mechanism was put into effect during the Summer of 2006, instead of the usual bank guarantee.
It is certainly a factor taken into consideration, especially if the parties are of limited financial means. The further the country is from Israel, the more difficult and expensive visitation will be. A court will be very concerned about maximizing visitation arrangements if the child moves abroad.
No! There is no legal obligation upon your ex-wife's new husband to agree to this at all. The court can grant your ex-wife permission to relocate if after hearing the expert opinion/s it considers that it is the best option for her in the circumstances, even if you object. In November 2006 Tel Aviv Family Court granted a mother with custody, who had remarried a French businessman, permission to relocate to France with a six year old son, It adopted the findings and recommendations of professionals which held that relocation was in the minor's good, or was the 'least detrimental alternative', In doing so, the court rejected a claim by the father that his ex-wife's new husband's refusal to promise to let her and the child return to Israel if the minor were unhappy in France, proved that his welfare was not being put first. It held that the new husband was under no obligation to make such an undertaking.
Not while the case in Israel is pending appeal. A judgment must be unappealable and final before it can be recognized by a 'mirror order' in the UK, and a residence (custody) order obtained there.
Yes! Meeting your new spouse is part of the assessment process carried out by the professional who the court has appointed to report on whether relocation with you abroad is in your children's welfare. The professional will be looking to see whether your partnership seems stable and whether your new spouse and your children have a reasonable relationship.
Yes, providing the child is of appropriate age and maturity (generally around 10), and is regarded by professionals who have made reports not to have been incited/pressurized or brainwashed by one of the parents. The reasons the child gives will be relevant and the judge is entitled to meet the child in his/her chambers without either of the parents being present, to gain a firsthand impression, if necessary.
Not necessarily. The court will appoint a professional to test the relative parenting skills of both you and your 'ex' and to make a report and recommendations on whether relocation abroad with their mother is in your children's welfare ie preferable to remaining in Israel with you. While the expert will be impressed by your commitment as a parent, being too extreme could boomerang. For example, in a relocation case which reached the Supreme Court in 2005, one of the reasons given for overturning the District Court's refusal for permission for the children to relocate abroad with their mother was the father's 'totality', which the expert's report had noted. It had said that both the mother and father were very capable parents but the professional appointed to make a report and recommendations noted that the father's unwillingness to see any advantages for the children in relocation and the totality of his views put pressure on them, whereas their mother's more open and balanced approach had a calming effect on them. She saw the advantages and disadvantages of both options for them – of staying in Israel with the father, or moving to the United States with her, whereas he could only see the negative side of relocation, and the positive side of staying in Israel. 'I estimate that the father's deep persuasion that the girls' place is here, without any doubts, puts hidden pressure on them,' the expert wrote.

No, you are not 'stuck' with rabbinical court jurisdiction. Primary jurisdiction for relocation lies with the family court where the plea can be filed, directly.

Even if you expressly consented to rabbinical court jurisdiction at the time, children have independent legal personalities and are not bound by the choice/s of their parent/s regarding the judicial forum they chose to adjudicate on legal proceedings concerning them, according to long-standing Supreme Court of Justice binding precedent. Your children can initiate relocation proceedings themselves, as plaintiffs, via you, as their natural guardian, in the family court. You can also file for relocation, as a plaintiff, too.

It will certainly investigate the stability of the new relationship, and a professional appointed to make a report and recommendations may even meet with the mother's new husband, as well as her and the children, and yourself.
Not necessarily, because the court has discretion and the last word here. For example in May 2005 the Supreme Court finally put an end to a two year court battle between divorced parents, both of whom had remarried, over relocation of their mutual children. It re-instated the original Family Court's judgment allowing relocation, but held that both sides would bear their own costs, which covered two appeals, and specifically recommended that the District Court's ruling on costs be reversed.

Yes - or permission from the family court in Israel, if you do not consent. If your 'ex' relocates overseas without your consent or court permission, unilaterally, then this would be an act of civil child abduction.

If you oppose the idea of your 'ex' relocating overseas permanently with your child, then she must apply to the family court for permission to relocate, and you can oppose the application. If you have grounds to suspect that she is planning to relocate, unilaterally, because she knows you will not consent, then there are pre-emptive emergency legal steps that you can take, to prevent the child's exit from Israel.

Unfortunately, the Hague Convention governing civil aspects of international child abduction is not yet in force between Israel and the Philippines.


The Philippines acceded to the convention on  29.3.2016 , with it becoming a "Hague Convention" Country only on 1.6.2016. At present, only Japan has accepted its accession, so currently the Hague Convention is only relevant regarding abductions  between Philippines and Japan, though hopefully, other countries, including Israel, will accept the accession, so that it will have wider effect.


Currently, therefore, you would need to take direct legal action in the Philippines via experienced specialist counsel there, for a non-Hague order for the return of your child and/or to represent you in custody proceedings there, if perhaps already initiated by your wife. You would be advised to select counsel in the Philippines who would work in conjunction with English speaking specialist family law counsel, in Israel, to maximize your representation and thereby improve your chances of returning your child. 


Our law practice could, for example, offer such assistance, and provide an expert legal opinion on Israeli family law  , to be presented overseas, to explain about your equal parental rights under Israeli law and the independent rights of the child (who is an Israeli citizen, too) , and how they have been breached. We could, also assist in the preparation of detailed affidavits, and gathering relevant evidence, regarding  habitual place of residence and joint parental intentions.

Yes, especially if she has a poor record, and frequently sabotages or interferes with visitation. A parent's willingness and ability to maintain contact with the other parent and to recognize his/her legitimate role and rights – and the importance for the children of an on-going relationship with the other parent– is a vital factor. A court could refuse relocation because of a mother's poor record on this.
Not judging by a successful relocation case decided by Tel Aviv Family Court in September 2005, where a divorced mother, originally from the U.K., was given permission to relocate there with a 10 and an 8-year old, over whom she had custody in Israel. She had originally planned to relocate to England to be near her family in the South Coast, but later amended her plans to remarry and live in London. She had made it clear to the psychologist appointed by the court to make a report and recommendations that if her plea were rejected, she would remain in Israel. The psychologist noted that if the mother had to remain in Israel should her plea be rejected, the same problems of isolation and strain she experienced before would resurface, and this would have an indirect negative effect on the children as it would weaken her parental capability. Furthermore, refusal would fan the flames of animosity between the parents which would boomerang on the children, and they could bear a grudge against their father because of this.
Apply to the family court for permission to relocate overseas with your minor child for a specified period of time. Where parents cannot agree about where a child should live, even temporarily, then the family court hears the parties' competing claims, and can rule on the dispute. It has discretion to overrule the non-custodial opposition's opposition to relocation overseas.
Yes, you will most probably be asked to meet the clinical psychologist appointed by court to make a report and recommendations about whether relocation would be in the children's welfare. You will probably meet him/her alone, and also with the mother, and the professional may even observe how you and the mother interact with the children. For example, in September 2005, as part of a divorced mother's plea to relocate from Israel to her native UK with her minor children, where she was planning to re-marry, her prospective new-husband met the psychologist appointed by court alone, with the mother and with her and the children. The psychologist reported his impressions, noting that the partner was aware and supportive of the help they may need in adapting to life in the UK, but clearly understood and respected the important role the minors' father had in their lives, and had no intention of imposing on it. The court, which passed judgment authorizing relocation, subject to a detailed plan being permitted concerning the minors' schooling, took all this into consideration.

Bring legal proceedings against your ex-husband at the family court in Petach Tikva, asking it to grant an order allowing your child from your first marriage to relocate overseas permanently.

You will have to prove that the grounds for your relocation application are legitimate and reasonable, and prove that it is in the child's best interests and is the least detrimental alternative, or least harmful alternative, in the circumstances, given all the options. The court can grant you such an order, and overrule your husband's objections, as part of the legal proceedings, but you will need a clear 'relocation plan' which shows how the father-child relationship can be retained despite the distance, as well as what arrangements are proposed for the minor in terms, of educational, health and social activities etc.

It could require the selection of a suitable school, near the minor's intended home abroad, which caters to his/her needs. For example, in a relocation case in September 2005 Tel Aviv Family court permitted relocation of minors to London, subject to certain plans/conditions, including those relating to their education. After the mother had selected a Jewish primary school with a good academic reputation near their intended home, that provided a supportive framework to Jewish Israeli children with language and other difficulties, and provided proof of this, the court held that the school answered the minors' needs, and authorized their registration there, as part of the decision approving conditions for their relocation.

Yes, as a rare exception. An Israeli family court will not usually digress from the expert's recommendations or order a supplementary report in relocation proceedings, unless there are 'heavy-weight' reasons justifying this, but it is possible for a supplementary report to be ordered, if, for example, it is found that not all the factors or options that should have been considered, were considered.

For example, in February 2016, Tel Aviv District Court, a supplementary expert report by was ordered as part of relocation appeal proceedings. It was held that a court appointed expert in child relocation proceedings must check out all the possibilities thoroughly, including the implications for the minor/s of the parent wishing to relocate with the child/ren in question, actually relocating alone, and leaving them with the other parent, even if he/she expressly declares that he/she will not do so. The decision to allow relocation in the child/ren's best interests, is usually a difficult choice, of the 'least detrimental alternative', in practice, and there must be full consideration of the quality and nature of the child/ren's relationship with each parent, and a comparison of likely damage resulting from separation from each parent.

No, all issues related to children like custody and relocation are dynamic, and can always be re-opened. Relocation may not be in a child's best interests at a particular time, but may be later on. A custodial parent who is refused permission by the court to relocate when the child is young may be successful later.
This would very much depend on the particular circumstances of the case, but it could be possible, at least in relation to some of the visitation. For example, Tel Aviv Family Court allowed a mother to relocate with two minors to the U.K. in September 2005, and ordered her to foot the bill for a one week visit to London once a year. The flight ticket and accommodation in a three star hotel for a week were on her account, it held.
Good. Your plans sound legitimate, and reasonable. As your child is under 6, and Israeli law gives preference to mothers of young children gaining custody, then if you apply for relocation, are the toddler's main carer, and a reasonably competent parent, then it is likely that the professional appointed by court to make a report and recommendations will recommend that you be granted permission. The court, however, must be convinced that relocation to Holland with you would be best of the options available from your child's point of view.
Presuming you were the plaintiff in the relocation file, the best strategy would be to file an additional, independent plea in the child's name at the family court, as your child is an independent legal personality, with his/her own rights, and ask for the two pleas to be joined. As your child is a minor the plea would be filed via you, as his/her legal guardian. A relocation plea filed at the family court would circumvent the problem of jurisdiction as binding precedent states that a child is not bound to agreements between his/her parents concerning him/her, and this principle extends to the issue of jurisdiction. The family court has primary jurisdiction for relocation pleas, The family court would have to make an initial decision on whether it has jurisdiction over your child's relocation, given your husband's claim that it lacks jurisdiction. You will, of course, also have to file a defence at the rabbinical court in the custody proceedings brought against you there disputing its continuing jurisdiction, but without further details nothing significant can be said on this.
There is no guarantee of this, but remarriage is considered a legitimate ground for relocation. If you filed for relocation in Israel based on remarriage to someone with a livelihood abroad, who could not easily live in Israel, you would have a reasonable chance of success, assuming that the professional reports recommended that this was in your child's interest, given all the circumstances and options.