The mother of a 5-year-old child, both of whom came to live on the island unbeknownst to the father, was able to buy more time on Tuesday after a higher court suspended for a second time a return order that would have reunited the American boy with his father in New York.
According to the Cyprus News Agency, three Supreme Court judges forming a family court of appeals renewed a decision to suspend a lower family court decision, effectively keeping a 5-year-old boy with his mother in Cyprus until her appeal moves forward in the Cypriot court system.
A previous lower court deadline of February 10, which had ordered the child be given back to his father in the United States, was also delayed by SC judges at the last minute, after the mother filed an appeal against the original decision moments before the deadline.
The father’s lawyer said his client had hoped to take the child back to the US and spend time with his son while the mother was appealing the case. He also dismissed abuse allegations launched by the mother.
The mother argues that the child should remain in Cyprus because of established ties on the island, with the other side complaining about parental alienation and blaming the mother for her actions
But the mother’s lawyer argued that the child should remain in Cyprus until the appeal goes through, citing concerns that it might be difficult for her client to get the child back from the US if she won the appeal in the end.
The appeal hearing is set to begin March 4, while it was not clear whether a decision on the return of the child could be issued that day.
Supporters of the mother had raised public awareness over the case days before the original deadline to hand over her child, arguing the clinical psychology graduate fled an abusive relationship after getting help from her supervisor who linked her up with a network of women survivors in New York.
The mother, who obtained Cypriot documents for her 12-month-old baby at the time, said also said the father never showed interest in communicating with his son.
But the father’s lawyer says his client was searching for them in the United States, not knowing that the mother had obtained a Cypriot birth certificate and travel documents for the baby without his consent. He also argues that the mother had stayed away from social media until after detectives he had hired were able to track her down in Paphos.
The case made headlines after it emerged that the mother fled New York in 2017, abducting the child, a US-born citizen, and flying to Cyprus, stirring public debate over child custody issues, the legal court system, and international conventions of child abduction.
According to public statements by the lawyers, the mother argues that her son should remain in Cyprus because he has established ties on the island, with the other side complaining about parental alienation and blaming the mother for her actions.