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relationships with both parents by the custodial parents and the relevant competent authorities, recognising the valuable and irreplaceable contribution that each has to make in their lives. 66

The relationship between permanently from the

the grant of State of

leave to remove the habitual residence

child and

international child abduction was

explored several times during

the

parental

interviews.

It

is

unhelpful

to

compare

a

domestic

separation with one with an international perspective because of the obvious distinctions between a separation within the same jurisdiction and one which spans several thousands of miles, in terms of the continuing regular contact possibilities between the child and the non-custodial parent. Some parents have argued that the ease with which custodial parents commonly obtain leave to remove from the jurisdiction is detrimental to the best interests of most children as it encourages the incidence of abduction; custodial parents believing that, ultimately, they will be granted leave to remove even if they have abducted their child(ren) and have been returned to the State of habitual residence, the abduction serving to demonstrate the imperativeness of the custodial parent’s wish to relocate; non- custodial parents believing that the only chance they have of living with their children is to abduct them either before the child is given leave to live abroad or once that has taken place. Whilst recognising the significant implications for the freedom of movement of the custodial parent and his/her private and family life which a refusal to leave the jurisdiction may create, some non-custodial parents argue that this was a choice entered into freely by that parent when the decision was taken to have a child in a foreign jurisdiction with a national of that country and that this exercise of self-ordering should be respected thereafter.

Although this is an interesting and wholly understandable human reaction, it is unlikely that any presumptive approach to these matters is properly acceptable in that what is ultimately

66 There is nothing to prevent parents agreeing that there will be a provision in the Hague return order for contact on return although the competent authorities in the State of habitual residence will be in control of the future decisions relating to this issue.

53

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