A father has been granted full parental responsibility for his daughter so that she can live with him instead of with her mother, who was unable to care for her properly.
The mother and father were Polish nationals with a nine-year-old daughter who was born in Poland.
In 2017, following the parents' separation, the Polish court ordered that the daughter, referred to only as W, should live with the mother and have contact with the father.
In June 2018 the mother brought W to the UK without the father's agreement, although he acquiesced once the move had taken place. The mother did not tell the father of her location within the UK.
In February 2019 the police attended the mother's home where they found her suffering a delusional psychotic breakdown. W was removed and placed in foster care. The mother spent time at a psychiatric hospital.
The local authority issued care proceedings in March 2019 and W was made the subject of an interim care order. The local authority, the court-appointed psychologist, and the children's guardian agreed that it was in W's best interests to return to Poland under her father's care.
The Family Court held that W's welfare was best served by her living with her father in Poland and having contact with her mother.
However, there was another issue to resolve because the Polish parental responsibility order was limited in a way that could not happen in the UK. It restricted a father's parental responsibility to decisions about medical treatment and education.
The Children Act 1989 required the court to make a parental responsibility order if a child arrangements order was made naming the father as the person with whom the child was to live, and the father would not otherwise have parental responsibility.
The court therefore made the order so that the father would have the ability to make important decisions to protect his daughter’s interests and welfare.
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Case Citations:  EWFC 20, BOURNEMOUTH, CHRISTCHURCH & POOLE COUNCIL v (1) KC (2) WG (3) W (BY HER CHILDREN'S GUARDIAN) (2020) Fam Ct (Judge Dancey)
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