Child abduction: mother named by English family court

Child abduction

Most people have read that family and children court cases heard in England are clouded in secrecy, with the Courts keeping the names of the parents involved in Children Act court proceedings confidential. This is done in order to preserve the anonymity of the children caught up in court battles between parents. However, one mother has been named by the English family court, as part of a court ruling to try to get the mother to comply with court orders and return her children to the UK.

The mother at the centre of the court battle is Anna Tigipko. In 2012, she got married to her husband in the Ukraine. By 2015, she, her husband, and their two daughters were all living in London. The couple decided to separate and Anna Tigipko moved out of the London family home. Fast forward two years to 2017, and Anna Tigipko took her two children to Ukraine. The best London divorce solicitors say that Anna Tigipko obtained court permission from the English family court to take the children to the Ukraine for a number of weeks. However, at the expiry of those weeks Anna Tigipko did not return the children to London. Her husband started court proceedings for his daughters’ return to London. Anna Tigipko’s refusal to comply with those court orders led to the family court taking the unusual step of naming the mother in confidential children court proceedings.   
The top London divorce solicitors say that the case of Anna Tigipko and her children is another example of the complexities of separating from a husband or wife when you are an international family living in London and the importance of securing the right court permission before leaving the UK with your children.   

How can OTS Solicitors help? 

The family law team at OTS Solicitors advise on all aspects of family and children law. OTS Solicitors represent parents in high conflict children cases involving international families. 
For tenacious representation in children law court application or for more information about your children law options please get in touch with us on 0203 959 9123 to arrange an appointment to speak to one of our experienced London children and family law solicitors.

Separated and want to leave the UK with your children 

The case of Anna Tigipko is, in the view of the best London divorce solicitors, a reminder of just how complicated and international in nature many London families are.
Anna Tigipko was born in the Ukraine. She met her husband, who has both Russian and British citizenship, in Vienna. The couple were married in the Ukraine. The family lived and worked in London, with Anna Tigipko described as a highly successful businessperson who ran a Harley Street clinic. All the top London divorce solicitors would describe the family as truly international but the law on separated parents wanting to leave the UK with their children applies to all families, international or not, provided that the English court has jurisdiction over the children.
Many parents assume that the English court cannot control their international movements with their children because either they do not hold British citizenship, or their children do not. However, the best London divorce solicitors say that the power of the English court to make orders relating to your children does not stem from:
• Your citizenship or your husband or wife's citizenship;
• Your immigration status or your husband or wife's immigration  status;
• Your child’s citizenship or immigration status.
Instead, the English court has the power or jurisdiction to decide if:
• You can take your child abroad on holiday;
• You can take your child abroad to live.
• The child is habitually resident in England; and 
• The other parent and anyone else with parental responsibility for the child will not agree to you taking your child on holiday abroad or taking your child out of the UK to live in a different country.
The law on separated parents leaving the UK with their child applies even if:  
• You want to visit your country of origin for family or cultural purposes;
• There is a family problem in your home country;
• You want to return to live in your country of origin as you think that would be better for your child.

Habitual residence and taking children abroad

The best London divorce solicitors say that the law on separated parents taking their children abroad all rests on whether a child is classed as “habitually resident” in England. In order to be classed as habitually resident a child does not have to:
• Be born in the UK;
• Be a British citizen;
• Have lived in the UK for a minimum period.
Accordingly, if you are an international family or have international connections it is vital that you take specialist family law advice before taking your children out of England and Wales for the purposes of a holiday or as part of a planned move abroad.
In the case of Anna Tigipko, her children were clearly habitually resident in England, as they had enjoyed a settled home base in London. What is more, their mother correctly applied to take the children abroad to the Ukraine but did not get the correct permission. That is because she applied to take the children out of the UK on a temporary rather than permanent basis and, when she decided that she wanted to make her return to the Ukraine permanent, did not return to London with the children to make the correct court application.

Confidentiality and children court proceedings 

The top London divorce solicitors say that the disclosure of the mother’s name in the Anna Tigipko case did not come about because of the court instigating the disclosure. The children’s father supported by The Daily Mail, The Times and the BBC, asked the court to release the mother’s name.
The High Court judge said 'there is a strong public interest in far more press reporting of international child abduction'. The comment may lead to more applications for release of names by both parents in their battle to return their children to the UK and by the press in their quest to make children law proceedings more open to public scrutiny and less clouded in secrecy.  


How can OTS Solicitors help? 

OTS Solicitors advise on all aspects of family and children law and have particular experience in representing parents in complex and high conflict applications for child arrangements orders and international children law cases.
OTS Solicitors provide specialist divorce, family and children law advice especially where there are children law and international elements and associated immigration law issues. For advice on children law or representation in children court proceedings please get in touch with us on 0203 959 9123 to arrange an appointment to speak to one of our experienced family and children solicitors.


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