Household Court docket Deny You Custody Of Your Youngster? Journey To Costa Rica.
Close up of a metallic souvenir key ring from Costa Rica
Travel magazines promote travel at a cost to Rica
Travel Glossies encourage travel to Costa Rica due to its national parks, volcanoes, hummingbird capital of the world, adventure, beaches, world class resorts, coffee, cacique guaro, proximity and the general happiness and friendliness of its people.
I do not contribute to Forbes as a travel expert. This article is not about the reasons to travel to Costa Rica for tourist reasons. I traveled to Costa Rica to help a father for whom I had challenged custody of his then six-year-old son in the United States against allegations of child sexual abuse by the child’s mother and won here in court just for mother and finding the child (after an extensive search) had violated a court order to return the child to the father and traveled with the child to Costa Rica.
Circumvention of the Hague Convention
I write about family law. This article is about custody of women and children as well as Costa Rica. Costa Rica has an enormously powerful and very active women’s group, the INAMU (Institut Nacional del a Mujeres), who can appear in any legal proceeding, including custody proceedings under the Hague Convention. The Hague Convention is a treaty signed by the United States and Costa Rica, as well as 83 other countries and a regional economic organization, on custody of children removed from their home state.
Tourist visa / asylum application
The mother entered Costa Rica on July 4, 2018 on a 90-day tourist visa. She applied for asylum because she was afraid of returning to the United States. There was a federal warrant against her for passport fraud (she fraudulently obtained a passport for the child) and for “parental abduction” -PKPA. Both are federal crimes. She claimed the family court (the case was assigned to three different judges), two child protection agencies, two psychologists who examined the child and parents, the lawyer who represents the child, and the social worker who is supposed to assist the child and the the police were all prejudiced against them. She convinced a three-person asylum administration in Costa Rica of her “fear” of returning to the USA, thereby fulfilling the asylum parameters of Costa Rica (fear of serious injuries or injuries on return to the home country) for herself and the child, the fact that the mother had no custody of the child and had no legal authority to seek asylum on his / her behalf.
Hague petitions approved
The family court in Costa Rica granted the father’s motion under the Hague Convention to return the child to the United States, and the family appeals court upheld the court’s decision on the mother’s appeal and the INAMU. The mother and INAMU appealed to the Costa Rican Constitutional Court (Costa Rica’s highest court), which found that mother and child asylum “trumped” the Hague petition and allowed mother and child to reside legally in Costa Rica. Costa Rica would not bring the child back to the US.
Father charged with sexually abusing his son in Costa Rica
The mother reiterated her “unfounded” sexual abuse allegations in New York to prosecutors in San Jose and Costa Rica and held jurisdiction over all sexual abuse allegations that occurred “anywhere in the world”. The father, who was on a trip to “visit” his son in “protective custody” in July 2019, has been arrested and is currently awaiting criminal proceedings in Costa Rica. He cannot leave the country because the criminal justice authorities have taken possession of his passport. He faces up to thirty years in prison in Costa Rica for an alleged “crime” that has already been investigated by the NYPD SVU (Special Victims Unit), child protection services and two psychologists, one of whom is a forensic expert on child sexual abuse in New York is alleging allegations against him as “unfounded”.
The child (after being “found” in Costa Rica) was returned to his mother’s custody by the Costa Rican Child Protection Agency, PANI (the same organization that supports parents whose children were illegally brought to Costa Rica) upon location ). The New York Family Court’s father’s custody decision remains the only custody decision. The child is now 8 years old and lived almost exclusively with his mother in Costa Rica for almost two years. The child was interviewed by Costa Rican social workers in Spanish, a language the child reportedly spoke “un poquito” (a little).
The mother cannot leave Costa Rica because there is an Interpol “Red Alert” on her US passport and a “Yellow Alert” on the child’s US passport. The mother remains on federal charges of two crimes. The maximum sentence for both offenses combined is up to ten years in prison.
Warning to the fathers
In investigating what took the mother from New York to Costa Rica, I found a US website (since removed) that “advertised” women who had been “wronged” by family court custody rulings in the United States and where they found safety and refuge for their children in Costa Rica. The photos on the website were all of white women who “wrongly” had lost custody of their child (s) in a family court in the United States and who were now living in Costa Rica.
Innocent trips to a country known for its warmth and friendliness can, in a controversial custody case, result in your child being taken away from you to live permanently in Costa Rica. The US State Department’s Consular Office publishes annual reports on the results of Hague petitions in countries that have signed the Hague Convention. In the annual reports on international child abduction on Travel.gov, Costa Rica is quoted in the report for “non-compliance”.
The cost of custody travel
The financial cost is immeasurable: lawyers in two countries, experts in two countries, trials in two countries, alimony in two countries, not to mention the loss of jobs. The human cost is even higher – the cost of losing your child.