A US-born child was reunited with his dad in Limassol on Monday, ten days after the Supreme Court gave the Cypriot mother a deadline to comply with a court order, with the handover taking place four years after she flew him to the island unbeknownst to the father.
According to local media, the Supreme Court in the Republic of Cyprus reconfirmed on March 19 an original decision by a Paphos lower court, which ordered the Greek Cypriot mother of a 5-year-old child to return her son to his father. The dad had accused the mother of abducting their son in New York in 2017 and hiding in Cyprus, while also slamming Cypriot authorities for issuing travel documents for the child without his parental consent.
Reports said the mother, who delayed the return last month after filing an appeal with the Supreme Court, was in tears on Monday afternoon in Limassol when she handed over the boy to a social services official, who then returned the child to the father who had flown to Cyprus last month.
The father’s lawyer, Panayiotis Tsangaris, told media the boy was hesitant at first before finally opening up and falling in his father’s arms.
'The boy was hesitant at first during the handover which lasted a good twenty minutes, but then there were moments that bring tears to people's eyes,' Tsangaris said
“The boy was hesitant at first during the handover which lasted a good twenty minutes. But then there were moments that bring tears to people's eyes,” Tsangaris said, referring to hugs and kisses between the father and his son.
Tsangaris made clear there had been no child custody ruling in the case, adding that American courts would need to adjudicate the matter and that the father was in no way seeking to exclude the mother from joint custody.
“These days but not only the last ten days have been like hell for all involved,” the lawyer said, adding that the idea that parents who face difficult issues could solve problems with abductions is something they should “get out of their head” and try to resolve differences legally at the place of residence without breaking the law.
The lawyer also said his client had told him that “depriving my son of his own mother never crossed my mind,” adding that the boy was able to speak with her son on Monday after the handover and will do so in the future including layover stops during the trip back to New York.
Additional reports said the two sides were seeking ways to start on small issues, such as communication, until they reach a stage where they can delve into more serious issues including a final custody arrangement.
The mother had told Greek Cypriot media that she took her son and fled to Cyprus in an effort to escape verbal, psychological, and physical abuse, accusations the father has flatly denied while also accusing the mother of parental alienation.
Additional reports on Tuesday said efforts were being made for the mother to obtain a US visa to travel to New York in the future, where family courts would ultimately decide legal guardianship terms for the child.
In the meantime, the Cyprus News Agency reported that father and son were scheduled to fly out sometime this week.