It’s a strange, strange world we live in, Master Jack.
No hard feelings if I never look back.
– Four Jacks and a Jill
I’ve written about international parental kidnapping a fair amount before, but this is a first (South Town Star, 6/14/10).
Ten years ago, Gerardo Serrano’s wife kidnapped their son Mycah and took him to her native Poland. She’s permitted Serrano to see his son only a few times since then and never alone. According to Serrano, she’s also turned the boy against him via parental alienation. For 10 years he’s called Mycah every Sunday, but lately the boy just hangs up.
Serrano went to court in Illinois and got an order granting him custody and apparently child support from his wife. But never mind all that. And never mind the fact that what she did is a clear violation of international law. No, as if kidnapping isn’t bad enough, she’s upping the ante; she’s gotten a Polish court to order Serrano to pay child support to her. Incredibly enough, the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services has decided that Serrano does owe his ex child support even though he has an Illinois court order saying that, as the custodial parent, he doesn’t, and in fact, she owes him.
But that’s not all. The State of Illinois has frozen his bank account. No, that’s still not all. It did so without informing him, holding a hearing or giving him any opportunity to contest the matter. Bill of Rights? We don’t need no stinkin’ Bill of Rights.
Poland is a signatory to the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, but somehow that seems not to matter. As one of Serrano’s attorneys said,
“No matter what an order says, they never return the child. They simply don’t,” Arnoux said. “There’s no reason to have these treaties if they’re not going to follow them.”
True. He could say the same about orders by Illinois courts that Illinois state agencies ignore. But once again, it’s the “child support” system at work. We’ve seen before that the system is all about money. Whistleblowers from inside the system have detailed that in no uncertain terms. But rarely do we see it overtly supporting criminal wrongdoing, but that’s what’s going on.
Serrano has a court order saying his ex owes him about $11,000. She has one that was obtained based on fraud, i.e. she didn’t tell the Polish court that she kidnapped their son and has no right to custody of him. But she’s not the one with a frozen bank account; he is.
Serrano seems to have a pretty accurate take on the family law system.
“To me, it’s just a lucrative business for everybody,” he said of the long list of lawyers, counselors, guardians and government officials he has had to deal with through the years on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean. “They’re just taking advantage of people’s emotions.”
After 10 years, that’s put him at the end of his rope.
“If I would have known this was going to happen, I would have kidnapped him and returned home with him. I came in with my hands clean, and I thought justice would be served,” he said.
He plans to move to a farm he owns in Kentucky.
“This thing broke me,” he said of the kidnapping case. “I pretty much just want to be left alone now. I’m tired.”
A decent man, a loving father. And this is how our family courts have left him. Disgraceful.
Thanks to John for the heads-up.