Forum Questions - Access

Yes, there are several options that would allow your children to visit their father in Israel, and give protection , of varying degrees, against their possible non-return, at the end of visitation. 

 

These range from a notarized written undertaking by their father, in Israel, to return them to the UK at the end of visitation, through a written agreement, signed by each of you, and even authorized in court in both countries, prior to the visit, defining the purpose and conditions of the visit, and clarifying your conditioned consent to the children's departure from the UK, their country of habitual residence, and the father's undertaking to return them.

 

Notwithstanding these options,  non-return of the children  to the UK at the end of the agreed period of visitation to Israel would amount to a passive act of child abduction under the Hague Convention, but the above steps would provide added protection and would be aimed to offset potential defences.

The best option for you is to file for the enforcement of visitation rights under the divorce agreement in the country where the children live. Even if the other country is bound by the Hague Convention like Israel, this Convention is of very limited use in enforcing visitation rights where there is no abduction involved.

Certainly, as under Israeli law you remain joint legal guardian with the mother, even though you are divorced, and she has custody. The Hague Convention will apply. Where visitation rights are infringed because of child abduction, the Convention is very effective in securing the children's return.

If the judgment awarding the mother custody does not deal with the issue of the father's access, then the mother is not under a legal obligation to make sure that visitation takes place. The right to actualize visitation lies in the father's hands, not the mother's. However, as Israeli law regards it being in the child's welfare to meet her father even if he lives abroad, it is preferably to try and reach agreement with the father regarding access in Canada, as well as in Israel. Ideally this can be done via negotiation without the father having to file for access (visitation) in the Israeli family court. However, should no agreement be reached, he will have no option other than to file for access. The door will still be open to reaching agreement , even after proceedings have commenced, and , failing this, the court will decide on the matter.

Regarding guaranteeing the child's return, the court has discretion on the matter. The custodial parent has no automatic right to financial guarantees.

File for access both in Israel and overseas in a Family Court in Israel. Your 'ex' will have to file a defence. You can ask the court to appoint a social worker to make a report and recommendations on the issue. In general courts in Israel recognize the right and emotional importance of a child having a relationship with both parents, and initially is likely to make this clear to a custodial parent who displays hostility towards respecting this, even at a preliminary hearing.

The first option is to file for access or visitation rights in Israel, and ask for a social worker/welfare officer to be appointed by court to make a report and recommendations on the matter. This will involve an investigation of all the inter-relationships in the family, including the relationship of your eldest child with you and her mother, and how this affects the situation with your son. If the professional appointed considers that you are being denied access and this is causing irreparable harm to your son e.g. that he is suffering from Parental Alienation Syndrome, then he/she can initiate proceedings. He/she can ask the court to declare your son "a minor in need of protection” according to the Youth (Care & Supervision) Law of 1960. This is, however, a highly controversial move since if the court does make such a declaration then it can issue a care or supervision order which will transfer custody of the child to the welfare authorities . They can then decide where the child should live and what treatment he should get. Basically the idea behind this is to put the child in a neutral environment so that he can get the psychological counselling he needs to enable him to rebuild his relationship with the alienated parent.

Hague Convention Countries

The “Hague” countries that are bound by the Convention in relation to abductions to and from Israel are:

Andorra | Argentina | Australia | Austria | The Bahamas | Belarus | Belgium | Belize | Bosnia and Herzegovina | Brazil | Burkina Faso | Canada | Cayman Islands | Chile | China | (Hong Kong & Macau) | Colombia | Croatia | Cyprus | Czech Republic | Denmark | Ecuador | Estonia | Falkland Islands | Fiji | Finland | France | Gabon | Georgia | Germany | Greece | Honduras | Hungary | Iceland | Ireland | Israel | Italy | Japan | Latvia | Lithuania | Luxembourg | Macedonia | Malta | Mauritius | Mexico | Monaco | Moldova | Morocco | Netherlands | New Zealand | Nicaragua | Norway | Panama | Paraguay | Peru | Poland | Portugal | Romania | Russia | St Kitts and Nevis | Serbia and Montenegro  | Singapore | Slovakia | Slovenia | South Africa | Spain | Sweden | Switzerland | Turkey | Turkmenistan | United Kingdom | United States of America | Ukraine | Uruguay | Uzbekistan | Venezuela | Zimbabwe

New countries may join the Convention in the future so that it applies to abductions between them and Israel, if Israel accepts their accession.