After the kidnapping drama: the Block family's custody dispute: German courts no longer have jurisdiction

According to a decision by the Hanseatic Higher Regional Court, German courts no longer have jurisdiction over the custody dispute between Hamburg entrepreneur Christina Block and her ex-husband.

After the kidnapping drama: the Block family's custody dispute: German courts no longer have jurisdiction

According to a decision by the Hanseatic Higher Regional Court, German courts no longer have jurisdiction over the custody dispute between Hamburg entrepreneur Christina Block and her ex-husband. The court announced on Tuesday that the reason is that the children now have their permanent center of life in Denmark.

With its decision on Monday, the Family Senate confirmed a corresponding first instance decision of the family court, against which the mother had lodged a complaint. In a decision dated October 17, 2023, the family court rejected both parents' applications for custody as inadmissible because the international jurisdiction of the German courts ceased to exist during the course of the proceedings. (12UF 139/23)

The case recently caused a stir when the children were brought from Denmark to Germany on New Year's Eve by previously unknown persons. They were with their mother in Hamburg and were then brought back to their father in Denmark after a court decision. Christina Block and the father of her children married in August 2005 and divorced about ten years later. The father did not send the children back to Germany in the summer of 2021 after one of the agreed visits.

According to the court, the basis for regulating parental custody is the Hague Child Protection Convention of 1996. According to this, the authorities of the country in which the children have their habitual residence are responsible for custody decisions that go beyond emergency orders. He was in Germany when the children were not returned from a weekend visit to Denmark in August 2021, contrary to what had been agreed.

The children's whereabouts are now Denmark. The court stated that it is not important that the change in custody in 2021 was unlawful. What is crucial is that all legal steps in Denmark to repatriate the children were unsuccessful and that the children had settled into their new environment in two and a half years.

According to the Higher Regional Court, there is no longer any appeal against the decision. Issues of custody are now expected to be resolved by a Danish court.

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