If an Israeli married couple sell their home in Israel, ship their possessions to England and fly over with their child, can the husband get a ‘Hague Return’ order against the mother from an English court if she ‘changes her mind’ and returns to Israel with their child against his will within a very short time?
Clearly this will depend on the exact circumstances of the case, but as a guideline, this is unlikely if she changes her mind quickly enough, within a matter of days or at the most a couple of weeks, and stops the child from acquiring habitual residence in the U.K. The English court dealing with the Hague application will have to decide whether the child's country of habitual residence had changed from Israel to England or not. For the father to be entitled to an order for the child's return to England, the English court will have to be convinced that the U.K. was the child's country of habitual residence immediately before the alleged abduction. According to U.K. precedent, the English court will examine whether the mother had a ‘settled intention’ to remain in the U.K. and whether an appreciable period of time had elapsed for the child to have acquired habitual residence there or not. In the 2007 case of Re A (Abduction: Habitual Residence) the High Court of Justice refused to grant a father a Hague Return order where the child had been physically present in the U.K. for just eight days prior to the alleged abduction and the mother had changed her mind about the permanent relocation to the United States a few days after the move and announced to her husband that their marriage was over. It held that on arrival the mother did have a settled intention to remain, but that this had evaporated shortly afterwards. The child had never established habitual residence in the U.S.A., it held, even though the parents had sold their home in the U.K. and shipped out their possessions as part of a permanent plan to relocate. In another U.K. case it has been held that habitual residence can, however, be acquired by a child within a month.
Abduction To Israel