Abandoned spouses abroad

There is a significant number of cases where an allegation is made, usually by the mother, that she has been abandoned abroad without the documents which she needed to re-enter the jurisdiction of England and Wales. The child of the family remains in this jurisdiction, usually with the father. The father argues that the mother has in fact travelled abroad abandoning the child with the father. In such cases urgent action is needed to ensure that the mother seeks legal advice at the earliest opportunity and does everything that she can in order to re-enter the jurisdiction. Usually Wardship proceedings can be commenced whilst the mother is outside the jurisdiction and orders obtained in the High Court to assist the mother to regain entry into the jurisdiction. It is important to note that there is often an overlap with immigration law in such matters.

Dawson Cornwell's case of Re M (Abandoned Spouses) [2006] FLR (forthcoming) establishes the procedure to be applied in cases of abandoned spouses and in particular the need for a fact finding hearing to determine whether the mother's allegation of abandonment has been made out.