Nine Year Old's Views - My ex-spouse, who is Israeli, has failed to return our child from Israel at the end of school holiday visitation, claiming that he does not want to return to the States, but would rather be with him, than me. He is manipulating and luring the child into saying he does not want to come back. I threatened bringing legal action, but he claims that an Israeli court would listen to the child, and refuse to send him back if he does not want to go. Is he right?

Without knowing the child's age and level of maturity and whether he is really being manipulated, no clear-cut answer can be given. As a guideline, however, courts dealing with Hague Convention applications to return an abducted child will not order the minor 'home' if he is of sufficient age and maturity to have his views taken into consideration, and he objects of his own free will. In Israel, courts generally take children's views into consideration around the age of ten, though again only if they are sufficiently emotionally mature. In a case heard by Tel Aviv Family Court in March 2007 the parent defending the case argued that his daughter, who was 9 years and 9 months old at the time of the judgment, objected to being sent back abroad. A child psychologist who interviewed the minor said that she was too young and immature to have her views taken into account, and they were indeed discarded, although she was not sent back for other reasons.
Abduction To Israel