Mediation & Agreement

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Yes, and it does not matter if the children were abducted to or from Israel. The parents can reach a negotiated settlement authorised by the court hearing the plea for a voluntary return of the children. The following are examples of voluntary returns involving minors with dual nationality - Israeli and foreign - where one parent was originally Israeli.

In January 2005 a voluntary return was reached in a Hague Case before Tel Aviv family court, where the UK father, was represented by our legal practice. In March 2005 an Israeli father, whose Hague plea for the return of his children from Ireland, had been filed with the Central Authority by our legal practice, reached a voluntary return agreement, in the High Court in Dublin. A voluntary return was also reached for the return of two minors from Belgium to Israel in the Summer of 2004 . In this case our practice represented the Israeli father by filing the Hague Plea with the Central Authority in Israel ,obtaining an ex-parte declaratory judgment at Tiberias Family Court declaring Israel to be their home, and filing for custody there, too.
Yes! For example, in a Hague Convention case in which our legal practice represented the Mother (the Plaintiff) in 2014, the parents reached a negotiated settlement, in the form of a detailed written agreement, that was authorized, separately, in two languages and became incorporated into a Judgment, giving it full legal validity. The agreement was first authorised in Hebrew, at a hearing, in July 2014 and later the same month, in English, after the parties' counsel agreed on a parallel version/translation in English. (Krayot Family Court 40036-04-14).
Yes, sometimes, it may be preferable to try and negotiate a fair solution, if mediation seems likely or inevitable, especially if the professional reports submitted to court seem clearly in favour of this. A thoroughly negotiated solution can save time, money and emotions later, and may result in a better option than letting the judge set the conditions. A negotiated solution is likely to be more detailed and planned than a court judgment, and may prevent the need for costly appeals.

A negotiated solution is signed by the parties and approved by the court and incorporated into a judgment.

Yes! It is possible to open Hague Convention child abduction proceedings at the family court in Israel, and at the same time specifically file for a referral to mediation.

This is exactly what a mother, represented by our legal practice, did at the end of April 2014, when she opened child abduction proceedings at the Krayot Family Court for the return of the couple's minor children - whom she claimed were being wrongly retained in Israel by the husband/father - to the U.S.A. The mother filed simultaneously for a referral to the court's assistance unit, which offers mediation services free of charge. The father filed his defence pleadings but the court process was put on hold, to give mediation a chance and the case ended by a negotiated settlement, which was authorized in court in July 2014 (Family file 40036-04-14). The settlement was incorporated into a judgment dealing with divorce, relocation of the minors back to the USA with the mother, in her custody, child support, arrangements for visitation in both countries, and ongoing virtual contact, and financial issues.

Yes, she could be trying to get you to 'agree' without realizing it into the children remaining overseas. Once you agree (after the act) you cannot take it back. You may not even realize you are agreeing, and she may try and record the phone conversation and use it in evidence against you. Beware! Any agreement should be negotiated through your lawyers and authorized in court so that it is legally valid and enforceable. 'Self-help' agreements can rebound and basically provide the abductor with a defence.
Yes, this is known as a ‘voluntary return’, the terms of which can be negotiated, and it has many advantages for both sides.
Yes, if the other parent agrees, this can be one of the conditions of the agreement.
No, it does not rule on that. It may refer to a removal or retention of the children, but will not say if this was wrongful or not. That is a basic tenet of a voluntary return.
Payment of air-tickets home, rental or provision of accommodation and overheads for the mother and child, the payment of maintenance for them, plus even a lump sum payment.
It saves time, money and heartache, avoids dragging out the legal process via appeals, and provides the opportunity for parties to create a basis for co-operation in the future.
Yes, up to a few weeks is normal in a court-authorized voluntary return agreement.
The agreement itself should provide for this event, but in principle a condition of such a voluntary return is that if the removing parent fails to return as arranged, the other parent is entitled to return the children.

Except in extreme cases where the abducting parent (usually the mother) has a genuine,and strong defence, it may be advisable  to consider a voluntary return, and even negotiate on conditions, rather than being labelled as an abducting parent, which can impact negatively in proceedings back in the home country. This can save time, money, and emotional energy, by ending proceedings, instead of letting them drag out through the appeal system, and be in the children's best interests. Instead of investing all these in difficult legal proceedings, energy can be directed towards the future.

It allows a fairer deal for both parents regarding the conditions for the minors' return, as it allows the parties to negotiate through their respective legal counsel, rather than letting the court make an arbitrary decision regarding the undertakings in the foreign country, the practical workings of which he is unfamiliar. It also creates a more positive framework or platform for co-operation between the parents upon the minor's return.

A voluntary return may often be reached after hours of negotiation, even in the court corridors, when the judge orders a break in proceedings. Such an agreement can be signed by the parties in court and incorporated into a legally binding judgment, which can be recognized and enforced abroad. Such recognition and enforcement can even be built in as a condition of the agreement itself.

On the face of it the removing parent may not be obliged to return the children at all, and the case is over, and the children will remain abroad. However, different options can be built into the agreement and the answer will depend on the wording in the particular case.