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Vanessa sought an order for relocation of the children

Vanessa sought an order for relocation of the children from their father, Hugo’s care in Abu Dhabi to her care, or her shared care with Hugo if he chooses to return, in England.

Vanessa was born in England. She has lived here since she returned from Abu Dhabi in 2020. She is domiciled and habitually resident in England. Hugo was born in England, where he has spent most of his life although he has lived in Abu Dhabi since 2018. There are two children (aged 5 and 4).

Vanessa applied for child arrangements orders and specific issues orders. She sought an order for them to live with her in England to relocate the children to live permanently with her in England, at whatever point the court makes its decision.

Vanessa is a recovering alcoholic. She made the difficult decision to return to the UK at the end of 2020, so that she could enter rehabilitation in the start of 2021. She had to leave her children in Abu Dhabi to do so. She underwent various treatments at facilities and has been abstinent for a year. Vanessa did not see her children at all from the start of 2021 until summer 2021. Until her leaving the UAE a year ago, she was the children’s primary carer. She acknowledges that, at times, her addiction prevented her from fulfilling this role.

Hugo is diagnosed with bipolar disorder and is prescribed medication. He also suffers with Cocaine Use Disorder (presently in remission).

Vanessa proposed that the children move at the end of this school year. By then, she will have been abstinent for more than a year and a half. Vanessa has a strong support network in England.

If Hugo decides that he could move back to England, the care of the children could be shared. If not, Vanessa ensured that there are many appropriate properties nearby for him to rent, while seeing the children and they can see him in Abu Dhabi in the holidays.

Vanessa doesn’t feel able to live in the UAE on a long-term basis. It is not clear from Hugo whether if the court allowed the children to return to England he would remain in Abu Dhabi, or whether he would find a way to relocate, running his business remotely.

The court had to evaluate the options. Vanessa was miserable and unwell in Abu Dhabi. She was in a toxic relationship where she argued she was subjected to abusive control. She is now on the road to permanent recovery. On Vanessa’s proposal, Hugo would have around 8 months of planning time to prepare himself and his business to move back to the UK. The impact on Vanessa of a refusal would be significant. Either she would be relegated to playing a small part in her children’s lives; or she must relocate back to Abu Dhabi, despite the potential detrimental impact on her mental health.

The judgment is yet to be given.

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